by Christine F. Godinez Ortega
Iligan City – To have control over one’s self by knowing the truth, to learn from religion, to be patient, and to be respectful, were thoughts shared by one more bright, young Maranao who graduated summa cum laude at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSUIIT) yesterday, July 5, 2017 at the MSU-IIT Gymnasium.
“I believe that the young should be enlightened about what is happening in Marawi. They should not be forced to believe in one thing only. They should strive to seek the truth and learn from religion (Islam)”, Mubarak Macabanding Paingco, 20 said in Taglish and Ceblish in an interview with this writer.
Paingco hails from Pantao Ragat, Lanao del Norte. His triumph comes on the heels of another Maranao summa cum laude graduate from the University of the Philippines – the first bright light to emerge during the Marawi crisis that has entered its 6th week of clashes.
During the Commencement exercises at the MSU-IIT, Paingco with a cumulative average grade of 1.10268, greeted his fellow 1, 964 graduates with an Arabic invocation to Allah before he delivered a prepared speech, interrupting this with sobs and the wiping off of tears as he reminisced about his late mother’s passing. He was only eight years old at the time.
As a child, he had told his mother not to worry promising to cure her when he would become a doctor. But this would not be realized.
His mother passed away and this had increased his resolve to pursue his ambition to be a doctor by choosing to major in General Biology in college.
Recently, Paingco got a 99 percent passing rate in the National Medical Admission Exam.
All these achievements, however, have not changed him. He had worked hard, he said, simply because his family had egged him on to excel by always reminding him he has a good head. He finished Valedictorian in the elementary grades and as Salutatorian at the Philippine Science High School, Central Mindanao campus located in Nangka, Baloi, Lanao del Norte.
He said, in a detached way, that he had simply studied and he had understood his lessons.
Since high school, he had always been “proficient” in Chemistry, Filipino and the Social Sciences, while in college, he breezed through his subjects in Mathematics, Physics and in Chemistry.
But his advice to students is to “relax” in between classes for the sake of their physical well-being. As a college student, he became a member of the MSU-IIT Student Muslim Association and the Varsity Volleyball team.
Steering the conversation once more to the Marawi crisis, Paingco said he does not support extremism, at the same time, he said, that the Maute rebel leaders are knowledgeable about Islam having studied in the Middle East. He, however, declined to comment on how the rebel leaders were also politicized abroad.
When asked to theorize about the possible start of the Marawi crisis, he emphasized that he is not really clear about what is happening in Marawi saying that it will “take a lapse of time” to know the real score of this crisis that is taking a toll on both the government and extremist forces as it enters its sixth week of fighting.
On the whole, Paingco expressed optimism for the future of Mindanao saying that the island is rich in natural resources that many can benefit. When he becomes a doctor, he said, he will serve the general community.
Photos by Alf Caro Evan, MSU-IIT Office of Publication & Information