Oct 12, 2014

by Anselmo B. Mercado

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On 30 September, 2014, I was invited to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) Investiture Ceremony at the Balubal National High School of Barangay Balubal, Cagayan de Oro. The ceremony was held in honor of forty (40) boy scouts of that school who were awarded their Certificates of Membership to the BSP.


It was an impressive ceremony, simple, symbolic and official. It began with the march-in of the colors (Philippine flag and Scout flag), followed by a prayer and the singing of the National Anthem. Then, two designated Boy Scouts went up on the stage, the first one led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, and the second scout led the Re-dedication of the Scout Oath and Law.


This was followed by a welcome address by the principal of the school, Dr. Clarito H. Oras.  Immediately following that, was the speech of the Investing Officer, BSP Cagayan de Oro Council chairman Atty. Roy H. A. Raagas, and then followed by a brief message from the FICCO Community Outreach Foundation (FCOF) chairman, Anselmo B. Mercado.


The symbolic ceremony consisted of: 1)  the lighting of candles (one big candle by the school head, 3 smaller candles by the school BSP coordinator, and then 12 candles  were lighted by designated scouts one after another signifying the 12 laws (or values) of the scouts, namely: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent; 2) the donning of the scout neckerchief on the individual scouts by the parents, and 3) the granting of the Membership Certificates.


As each scout went up to the stage with his parent to get the certificate, he gave the three-finger scout salute and offered the left scout hand-shake with the officials on stage. An impressive ceremony indeed!

The ceremony was attended by a good number of students and 11 teachers of the school led by their principal, the parents of the Boy Scouts, and some guests, including Atty. Raagas, Scouter Marilyn Guligado, Kagawad Rosel of Balubal who represented the Barangay Captain and Barangay Balubal, and FCOF chairman Anselmo B. Mercado  and FCOF staff.


As I write this today, it is the feast day of the Holy Guardian Angels of the Lord. The Bible reading of the day narrates how our Good Lord loves children and entrusts them to His angels, saying: “Anyone who welcomes one little child like this in my name welcomes me. See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven.”


The Boy Scouts at the Balubal High School investiture ceremony are God’s little children, and so with thousands of other scouts (boys and girls) all over our nation. These Filipino young ones will grow-up to be men and women, the adult citizens of tomorrow, to replace the “young once” of today. Their proper up-bring to be the persons we can all be proud of – possessing high moral standards, economically productive, socially concerned and actively involved,  intellectually able, willing to serve their fellowmen and country, and God-loving – is crucial to our society. The scouting movement (BSP and GSP) is one good way to help along in the person’s development we want for our children.


Acknowledging the scouting movement’s development role for the young, the FICCO Foundation, the Boy Scouts Council of Cagayan de Oro, the Girls Scouts Council of Misamis Oriental and partner-schools, have forged a four-way Partnership Agreement to embark in a joint undertaking, “Adopt Boys and Girl Scouts and Scout Units Program”.


This joint undertaking will initially support 320 boy scouts in several schools in Cagayan de Oro, and 200 girl scouts in several high schools in Misamis Oriental (Alubijid National High School, Bugo National High School, Medina National High School, Casinglot National High School, PN Roa National High School, the Elementary Schools of St. John, San Simon, Sacred Heart Village and Malasag and National High Schools of Balubal, Tagpangi and Indahag).


This is just the first step, and just a “drop in the bucket”, for the fact is, so many boys and girls out there in our schools cannot afford to join the scouting movement because of economic hardship.


At the Balubal National High School, the principal was telling us that the majority of the students come from very poor families, many from “broken families” whose parents have separated or have been negligent of their parental obligations. In fact, the principal added, some teachers have “adopted” some of the students just to help them survive and stay in school. Just before the ceremony started, we witnessed a father of a student coming into the campus, obviously drunk. He was not making any trouble, but he acted funny. It was a disheartening scene in a school.


In his speech, CDO BSP Council chairman Atty. Roy Raagas revealed the Council’s plan to get more membership and support for the Scouting Movement, targeting an increase of membership of Boy Scouts by 5,000 initially and eventually to reach 25,000 within 2-3 years. He said that this planned expansion could be done with financial support from more partners, sponsors and supporters from civil society and government because funding would be needed for the scouts’ needs (i.e., annual membership dues, scout neckerchief, trainings, camping and jamboree activities).


Let us remember what our Good Lord has said: “Anyone who welcomes these children in my name welcomes me. Do not despise any of them, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven.”



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