Army’s youth scholar, former communist rebel graduates

By Jennifer Catan-Tilos

Philippine Army scholar Marlon Hiyog poses with his family during the during the recent Negros Oriental State University Commencement Exercises held in Dumaguete City. (photo from 79th IB of the Philippine Army)


NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) — In the continuing effort of the Masaligan Battalion to advance peace through promoting education, one deserving youth scholar from a community formerly affected by Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CNN) in Siaton marched yesterday alongside other 1,773 graduates in Negros Oriental State University (NORSU) Main Campus at Lamberto Macias Gym, Dumaguete City.

Marlon Hiyog, 27, completed his Bachelor of Science of Information Technology (BS-IT), resident of Sitio Quadra, Brgy Mantiquil, Siaton, differentiates himself from other youths in the community by showing interest to finish his college education in the midst of extreme poverty.

He is the son of Marcos and Pacita Hiyog, both farmers living in extremely poor conditions.

Despite the odds, Marlon strived to go to college. He worked on resto bars as on-call dish washer on the weekends, talked to everybody he knows to accept him as housekeeper just to earn some cash and have some place to stay in Dumaguete.

One of the places he used to stay in is with his teacher who knew of his sacrifices, referred him to the Little Children of the Philippines (LCP) a as scholar.

After the armed engagement on March 23, 2013 between the NPAs and members of 79th IB in their community, Bayanihan Teams immersion immediately followed.

This led to the introduction of Marlon to the Bayanihan Teams which led the latter to become sympathetic to him.

His dedication and commitment to finish college, and eventually land a job to provide a better life for his family, became an inspiration not only to his fellow youths but also to army troops.

He continuously stressed the importance of education that he would undermine any difficulty and challenge he would meet along the way.

The Bayanihan Team Activities (BTAs) became inspired with his story that the unit looked for someone with a kind heart to support Marlon’s dreams.

He was later introduced by the unit to a military officer’s wife Marit Cabugon for his monthly allowances and cash support for other school needs aside from the scholarship for tuition provided by the LCP.

Then on, he managed to stay in Dumaguete and lessened his time for night jobs.

“The life of Marlon is a story of inspiration for other youths. He came from a community considered as mass base of the NPAs. His cousins, friends and even his parents have been drawn to support the NPA cause out of poverty. But instead of joining, like his other friends and family have done, he created his own path for his future, committed to it, and endured all challenges along the way. He has a burning desire to make a difference in his life. Now that he has finally graduated, he aspires to be employed in any government office as a software specialist and jumpstart a better life for himself and his family,” said 79th IB civil military operations officer 1Lt. Ronnie Sarmiento.

The Masaligan Battalion continues to uphold the primacy of education and mainstreamed programs of scholarships to deserving students from NPA infested communities, 1Lt. Sarmiento said.

“This is to uplift the living conditions of the rebel returnees and sustain development through education, the peace we all long for will be soon be achieved,” the Army officer added. (rmn/jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA website on March 23, 2016)


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