MBHTE, MOST ink agreement for the benefit of Bangsamoro learners

July 27, 2019

COTABATO City--The Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) signed on July 23, 2019 a partnership agreement that will benefit learners in the Bangsamoro. Minister Mohagher Iqbal of MBHTE and Minister Aida Silongan of MOST were both joyous to start the ministries’ partnership towards establishing a better future for the educational system of BARMM. The agreement involves the implementation of Science and Technology Academic Research-base Operated Kiosk System (STARBOOKS), which will be installed in select schools across the Bangsamoro. STARBOOKS is a computer system that contains thousands of digitized science and technology formats in text, video and audio. It is a collection of Science and Technology (S&T) information gathered from all over the world. Silongan said STARBOOKS provides teacher and learners easy access to S&T data and information, which could be used in the classroom. “This program aims to create interest in the field of Science and Technology which may increase the number of Bangsamoro youth enrolling in S&T courses,” said Iqbal. Iqbal said the Bangsamoro Government recognizes S&T as essential to national and regional progress. He added the Bangsamoro government shall give priority to science, research, inventions, technology education, and their development.

DOLE extends livelihood assistance for rebel returnees

July 19, 2019

A total of 64 rebel returnees from Marawi City, Butig, Piagapo, Tamparan, Pagayawan, Lumba Caunayan, Lumbatan and Sultan Dumalondong in Lanao del Sur, Opol, Misamis Oriental, and Balulang in Cagayan de Oro City turned up during the turnover of livelihood packages consisting of farming tools, sari-sari store starter kits, vulcanizing equipment and cellphone accessories business starter kit.     DOLE- 10 Regional Director Atty. Joffrey Suyao said that the returnees chose the kind of livelihood package they wanted to receive.   “Ito ay para makatulong hindi lang para sa kanilang pamilya kundi kung ito ay maging successful para sa kanilang komunidad,” said Suyao.   [This livelihood assistance will help not only their families but also their communities when it will be successful.]   The 103rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army had profiled a total of 163 Maute-IS returnees to be given livelihood assistance to enable them to lead normal lives.   According to Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr., 103rd Brigade commander, the livelihood package is part of the government’s campaign for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE).   Brawner also shared that most of the returnees joined the extremist group because of financial and economic reasons.    He then advised the returnees to use the livelihood assistance in starting with their living again.   “You should treasure this opportunity given you. This is a new start for all of you,” said Brawner.   Alex (not his real name), one of the returnees, thanked DOLE and the Philippine Army for all the support they had received. With the “Bigasan starter kit,” he would start anew in his home at Butig, Lanao del Sur.   “Malaking halaga ito dahil makakatulong ito sa negosyo namin at sa pang araw araw (This is of great help to us in starting our business and in meeting our daily needs),” he said.    Meanwhile, Cardo (not his real name) urged his former comrades to come down from the mountains and surrender to the government.   “Tinatawag ko kayo na bumaba na para makamit natin ang kapayapaan bilang Pilipino at Bangsamoro,” said Cardo.   [I urge you to come down so that we will achieve peace as a Filipino and as a Bangsamoro.]   Task Force Bangon Marawi Field Office Manager Felix Castro Jr also reminded the returnees to preserve and develop the livelihood support given to them.

Academe sees IT can contribute to Marawi rehab

July 19, 2019

Marohomsalic expressed optimism that the IT profession can contribute to the ongoing physical rehabilitation of the war-torn city.  He added that the city is already recovering from the trauma and physical pain brought about by the siege.  Currently, Marohomsalic together with his fellow IT professionals are embarking on a project dubbed “Marawi IT Solutions: It's Marawi” which aims to promote and raise the flag of IT within their locality involving Maranao residents affected by the conflict. "To the students who don't have any idea on IT works, we are here for them, to introduce a system development," Marohomsalic said, adding that his start-up IT company targets to build up and develop a system for the institutions for better processing.  He also urged the Marawi residents to go for the IT profession. "Along with my co-founder we are planning to hire resources here in Marawi, we will help you to succeed into IT career," he said. By promoting IT profession in Marawi City, Marohomsalic believes that the city deserves to be served by its residents saying "right now, we are opening the field for local IT programmers and aiming that someday we can develop a system locally made that Maranaos need not go outside the city." Marohomsalic aims to create a pool of resources here in Marawi.  "There is a great opportunity when it comes to IT career and there are many Marawi residents who have the potential to land in this ICT-job," he maintained.  He also added that the academe in Marawi is looking forward to any possibilities of outsourcing ICT opportunities within their locality which can also support the rebuilding of better and more advanced Marawi City. 

Islamiyah supporters surrender in Lanao del Sur

July 18, 2019

“The two surrenderors revealed that they’ve provided logistical support to the group of Owayda Marohombsar, or known as Abu Dar before he was neutralized in the neighboring barangay”, Lt. Col. Ian Noel Ignes, 55th Infantry Battalion commander. It was on March 14, 2019, when four of DI-Lanao Group, including Abu Dar, were killed in an encounter with the government forces in Brgy Dinaigan, Tubaran, Lanao del Sur. Khaledyassin Papandayan, Mayor of Tubaran also facilitated the surrender of the two supporters who also yielded two 1911 caliber 45 handguns. “The death of top DI-Lanao leaders and Maute Brothers and the surrender of their members have significantly contributed to the sustained peaceful environment in the province of Lanao del Sur”, said Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander, who has operational jurisdiction of Lanao del Sur. “We continuously collaborate with local chief executives and other stakeholders to encourage other supporters or even the locals with loose firearms to surrender and submit themselves to the folds of the law in order to stop the criminalities and attain a more peaceful community”, Brawner added. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, commended the efforts of the troops and the local government unit of Tubaran for the successful surrender of Dawlah Islamiya supporters. “Your 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, in collaboration with the LGUs and other stakeholders, remains steadfast in its commitment to attaining just and lasting peace in our area of operation thru our campaign against DI-Lanao group and loose firearms,” said Ancan. “Likewise, we thank the local government and other stakeholders for their continued trust and support to our troops in sustaining an environment conducive for peace and development in the whole province of Lanao del Sur,” Ancan added. 

UNICEF launches U-Report in Bangsamoro region

July 17, 2019

The U-Report uses polls, alerts, and collect real-time responses. It empowers the youth and encourages them to be the voice of their communities.   Andrew Morris, UNICEF Philippines Mindanao Field Office chief, said the U-Report will give adolescents and young people opportunity to make their views known in a much more powerful way.   The U-Report in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is the first in the country. It was launched in partnership with the Voluntary Service Overseas Philippines and the Office on the Bangsamoro Youth Affairs – BARMM.   “For UNICEF, we know that the passion, the ideas, and innovations of young people can transform the Bangsamoro’s future. We know that. But if young people like to do that, they need to be involved, consulted, empowered, and be equipped,” Morris said.   To become a U-Reporter, Bangsamoro youth must log in to their Facebook accounts, search for the U-Report Philippines page, open the messenger app and click join. Upon joining, reporters can start participating in the polls and send reports.   “I know that the Bangsamoro young people can play the same role as the other young people in the countries around the world,” said Morris.   “Your voice matters. Sign up to U-Report and take part on the weekly polls,” he told the hundreds of youth who were present in the launching ceremony.   “For UNICEF, we will do, with our partners, whatever we are able to do to support adolescents and youth in the Bangsamoro; to have their say, to make their views known, to have strong influence over (making) decisions,” Morris said. 

Restrictions waived for Moro fighters aspiring to become cops, soldiers

July 16, 2019

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, Jr. said that MILF members will be given priority in the hiring process for security forces in the newly-created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).   He particularly cited the Police Regional Office-BARMM, 6th Infantry Division (ID) based in Maguindanao, 1st ID based in Zamboanga del Sur and 11th  ID based in Sulu would give priority in the hiring process to qualified Moro combatants, including members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).   “We will write the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the PNP (Philippine National Police) that qualified applicants coming from MILF and MNLF communities be given preference as part of community policing and the normalization process,” Galvez, head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), told MindaNews in a text message.   Galvez, BARMM interim Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año had discussed the matter of foregoing some requirements for Moro combatants to become members of government forces.   In terms of the waived educational attainment, undergraduate Moro combatants hired as state troopers should finish a degree within 15 years of service, Galvez said.   “This is not an integration (of Moro combatants into government ranks) but a normal process. Part of the (peace) agreement allows the waiving of some requirements to accommodate more qualified applicants,” Ebrahim said in a text message in Filipino.   Ebrahim, popularly known as MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, said no quota was discussed since it will all depend on the individual MILF member whether or not he or she will join the police or the army.   The government and the MILF signed the final Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in 2014 after four decades of conflict that left dead over 120,000 people, including civilians.   The CAB’s major component is the creation of a new Bangsamoro region, which was realized with the ratification early this year of Republic Act 11054 or Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, popularly called the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).   The BARMM replaced the 29-year-old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.   Under the BOL, the age, height, and educational requirements of MILF combatants may be waived by the National Police Commission, and that they should apply within five years from the ratification of the BOL, OPAPP said in a statement.   The MILF is a splinter of the MNLF, which signed a separate final peace agreement with the government in 1996.   Under the CAB’s Annex on Normalization, Galvez said that at least 1,600 PNP members will be trained as part of the Joint Peace Security Teams (JPST).   The JPST members will help secure communities during the camp transformation and the decommissioning of 12,000 or 30 percent of MILF combatants this year.   Based on the normalization timeline, 35 percent of the combatants will be decommissioned by next year. The rest will undergo decommissioning from 2021 to 2022. This process will be completed before the signing of an exit agreement as stipulated in the CAB.   The pilot decommissioning of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the MILF's armed wing, happened in 2015 during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III, as a result of the signing of the CAB the previous year.


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