Amidst a genetic disease that affects the nervous system and controls voluntary muscle movement, Alexander Michael “Miggy” Bautista has still managed to graduate cum laude in business administration at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.
He has not been alone anyway. His parents, Gabriel and Soledad, would wake up at five o’ clock in the morning to get their son from their home in Tanay, Rizal to the university in Quezon City. Together, they would carry Miggy to the car, transfer him to the wheelchair, and wheel him to his classes in different buildings inside the campus.
Security guards, utility and maintenance personnel, teachers and even a passing “sorbetero,” would help carry Miggy up and down the stairs. Nelia Hermogino, the security guard at Virata School of Business (VSB), would memorize Miggy’s class schedules so she can update the next guard where “their student” is.
Even the university chancellor, Michael Tan, would keep his eyes on Miggy. He has formally written to Dr. Ivy Suan, undergraduate program director of the UP Virata School of Business (VSP), when Miggy decided to shift to a business course from political science. In response, Dr. Suan has ensured that Miggy’s classes were located or transferred in the first floor of the building.
“His main challenge was his mobility,” Dr. Suan recalled. “[But] we did not see any issue in his classes, where he excelled as a group leader,” she added.
Miggy claimed to have learned patience and perseverance during his years in UP. He also realized then how privileged he is to continue his studies. Hopefully, the university’s plan to “build a campus that is highly sensitive to the needs of students with disabilities” would take fruition soon.
“I believe service is not a question of capability but of will, mind and heart.Even if my disability sometimes barred me from doing some things, it did not stop me from being the UP student that I want to be.” ~ Alexander Michael Bautista
- Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement. Its primary effect is on muscles, which gets smaller day by day, and involves the loss of the motor neurons in a person’s spinal cord.
- Miggy has joined competitions and business ventures while being an “Iskolar ng Bayan.” He has even organized a financial literacy talk for PWDs in Cainta, Rizal.
Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Alexander Michael Bautista
*Miggy has his own blog you can read, too! He has recently written about depression, a mood disorder characterized by persistent sadness.