GIVING BACK. Zacara Postrano Lastimado (left), 22 of Cabanglasan, Bukidnon, graduates with magna cum laude distinction in her degree, Bachelor of Secondary Education, Major in Social Studies, at the Ateneo de Davao University in Davao City. Now she serves her community, the Umayamnon Indigenous People, as one of the formators of the Father Leoni Mission Foundation Inc., which helped her study in college. (Photos courtesy of DSWD-10)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – As a member of the Umayamnon indigenous peoples (IP) in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon, Zacara P. Lastimado believes it is her calling to be one of the voices in her community.

Lastimado, 22, finished this year her Bachelor of Secondary Education, Major in Social Studies degree at the Ateneo de Davao University in Davao City as magna cum laude.

She believes that aside from her dream of becoming a teacher, her identity as an IP has pushed her to become somebody her family and the community can be proud of.

“I was eager and motivated to go to school and attend my online classes because they are rooting for me. This constant inspiration brought me to where I am today,” she said during an interview with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Northern Mindanao  (DSWD-10) over the weekend.

Lastimado is one of the success stories of DSWD-10, as her family was once a recipient of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) which helps alleviate the economic conditions of poor families.

After graduating, Lastimado was invited to be one of the "formators" of the Father Leoni Mission Foundation Incorporated in Bukidnon, the organization that also helped her finish college.

She would soon be working with the clients of the foundation.

“I can still remember the roller coaster ride I had when I was in my elementary years. My family belongs to the low earning class, and we have had just enough money to sustain the necessities," she said.

Oliver Inodeo, DSWD-10 focal person for 4Ps, said Lastimado is the eldest daughter of Tita Postrano, 44, and Zacarias Lastimado, of Poblacion, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon.

"The Lastimado family was placed under the 4Ps in 2009. Zacara graduated from the program in March 2018 after she finished her senior high school education," Inodeo said in an interview Monday.

He said Zacara is a consistent academic achiever since her elementary days.

In 2012, she represented Bukidnon at the National Children's Congress in Manila after winning the provincial elimination of the Search for Exemplary Child. (PNA)