Abando takes over as new 55th army engineer brigade

August 7, 2019

BALOI, Lanao del Norte--The 55th Engineer Brigade, Philippine Army has welcomed its new commanding officer on Monday afternoon (August 5) at its headquarters in Barangay Maria Cristina this town. In a simple ceremony inside a hall, Col. Irineo Sebastian, the acting commander, relinquished the command and turned over the command symbol to the new commander, Col. Nestor Abando, who served as deputy commander of the 51st Engineer Brigade based in Libis, Quezon City before taking over the 55EB. In an interview, Abando said his leadership will continue the mandate of the unit which was the reason of its reactivation in March this year. “The 55th Engineer Brigade was actually created (to help) the rehabilitation of Marawi City but rest assured that it is not only rehabilitation engineering works but also to help other government agencies in other interventions to the IDPs (internally displaced persons) like the psychosocial,” Abando said. Next month, Abando said additional army engineer troops will arrive in their headquarters in Baloi to be deployed as additional forces in helping the Marawi rehabilitation. “In one month time, they will be finished with their training and when they arrived here, they will undergo another training to fully equip them for bigger works in Marawi,” Abando added. The unit has been helping the clearing, disposal and detonation of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the most affected area of Marawi City that was destroyed during the five-month war in 2017 against the Dawlah Islamiya. Sebastian took over as officer-in-charge after Brigadier General Ramon Ruiz took a leave of absence due to health reason. Ruiz was not anymore sent back to 55EB because he is projected to occupy a higher position. Since then, Sebastian was also designated as commander of the Joint Task Group Builder, a team of soldiers who take charge in recovering and detonating UXOs. The 55EB was deactivated in 2013 as part of the defense planning guidance to streamline the organization but was reactivated after six years to help the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi. Presently, troops of 551st Engineer Battalion are also helping the GMA Kapuso Foundation constructing a three-story school building of Datu Saber Elementary School in Barangay Datu Saber outside the most affected area. The old building was demolished to be replaced by a new and bigger one.

Barmm education summit centers on 'moral governance'

August 5, 2019

COTABATO City Moral governance takes center stage at the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) education summit held here from July 30 to 31, 2019. The new BARMM government pushes for moral governance in response to the Bangsamoro people’s clamor for change. Speaking before more than 300 teachers and education managers, Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said BARMM will infuse lessons on morals and values in the Bangsamoro curriculum.  “I hope this will transform our educational system as an instrument of change,” he said.  Bangsamoro Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal shared during the summit that the reshuffling of division superintendents in April, establishment of technical working groups, and surprise field visits are geared towards ‘moral governance.’  “We must make critical reforms within the BARMM to ensure service delivery,” said Iqbal, adding that he will be ‘firm but fair’ in pushing for reforms.  Iqbal stressed that the ministry is faced with an overwhelming task to improve the state education in the Bangsamoro.  “I am confident that we can make great strides if we will work together for the bright future of our children and youth,” said Iqbal.

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. 


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