MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–Residents of vulnerable communities in the municipality of Piagapo conveyed their gratitude for the literacy program of the 51st Infantry Battalion (IB)
25-year-old Asliah Calandada thanked 51st IB and its partners for the Expanded Educational Program-Alternative Learning System (EEP-ALS), saying the program allowed her to continue her education.
Calandada said she was not able to continue her high school education due to lack of financial support especially since her parents has passed away. She said she was lucky to be part of the ALS program.
“Maraming estudyante ang natulungan ng ALS to learn and dream again. Salamat sa [ALS has helped many students to learn and dream again. Thanks to the] chance, knowledge at experience,” she said.
“Honestly kahit pinagtatawanan nila kami kasi may edad na kami tapos nag-aaral pa daw kami pero hindi nila alam yung nasa puso namin at kung gaano kahalaga sa amin ang edukasyon. Hindi hadlang ang edad para hindi mag-aral. May mga iba nga kaming kasamahan na hindi marunong magsulat at magbasa pero nang dahil sa ALS natuto po silang magsulat at magbasa,” she further said.
[Honestly, even though they laugh at us because we are old and still studying but they don’t know what is in our hearts and how important education is to us. Age is not a barrier to not studying. We have some colleagues who can’t write and read but because of ALS, they learned to write and read.
Calandada is among the 89 ALS completers from Radapan village who were not able to get formal education due to poverty, difficult access, and armed conflict in the past years.
Another beneficiary, Candao Saliling, was also thankful to the 51st IB for allowing the less fortunate like him to be literate. He said the program is beneficial to them as they now learned how to read and write.
Sanaida Sultan, the first honor completer for the ALS Elementary Program, likewise expressed her gratitude for the program. “Taus-puso akong nagpapasalamat sa bumuo ng ALS program. Kayo ang naging daan upang kami ay makapag-aral muli [I am sincerely grateful to the implementers of the ALS program. You have been the way for us to be able to study again],” she said.
Like Sultan, Raihanah Ariraya, the first honor of the Basic Literacy Program, also thanked the implementers of the ALS program in her village adding that the program gave her hope to rise again from the effects of armed conflicts.
The EEP-ALS is implemented by the 51st IB in Piagapo and Madalum towns primarily to thwart the recruitment of out-of-school youth by the Dawlah Islamiyah Maute group. The program also aims to contribute to improving literacy in their area of operation and provide a stepping stone to residents who were not able to pursue formal education due to some constraints.
In Piagapo, 42 completed the Basic Literacy Program, 34 for the accreditation and equivalency (A&E) Junior High School Program, and 13 for A&E Elementary Program. (APB/PIA -10 Lanao del Sur)
ALS completer Asliah Calandada says the program provided her an opportunity to continue her education which she sees as very important. (Michael John Paclar / PIA Lanao del Sur)
Piagapo town resident Candao Saliling is thankful to the 51st Infantry Battalion for giving them an opportunity to the less fortunate who were not able to go to school. (Michael John Paclar / PIA Lanao del Sur)