COTABATO CITY (John Unson, October 22, 2023) — Local sectors support the three bills filed last week at the Bangsamoro parliament aiming to set up a high school in every barangay, a technical skills facility and an institution for “special children” in all municipal centers in the autonomous region.
Local executives, however, want the 80-seat Bangsamoro Transition Authority to first initiate an extensive audit and evaluation of dilapidated schools in all of the region’s 116 municipalities that can still be fixed to ensure cost-efficiency in the implementation of the three measures, the Bills 252, 253 and 255, once enacted into law.
The Public Information and Media Relations Division of the 80-seat parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao explained in a statement over the weekend that the Bill 252 is an enabling measure for the establishment of at least one high school each in all of the barangays in BARMM’s component towns.
There are 2,590 barangays in BARMM that covers the provinces of Maguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the cities of Cotabato, Marawi and Lamitan.
“This pro-poor, pro-peace bill is meant to improve the quality of secondary education in BARMM,” one of its authors, Parliament Member Baintan Adil Ampatuan, said on Sunday.
The Bill 253, on the other hand, aims to establish one technical skills learning center for each of the municipality in BARMM, alongside a learning facility for “special children” as proposed via the Bill 255.
`High ticket interventions’
Myra Borja Mangkabung, superintendent of schools in Lamitan City in Basilan, said Sunday she and her subordinate-mentors and school principals are in favor of the three proposed regional edicts, for them “high-ticket” interventions that can improve the quality of education in the Bangsamoro region.
“That is long overdue. We are in favor of having one public high school in all of the barangays in Lamitan City and in all the municipalities in Basilan,” Mangkabung said.
Mangkabung said special education facilities for children with learning handicaps is also needed in all of the municipalities in the Bangsamoro region.
“Having a high school in each barangay in the Bangsamoro region will solve the problem of overcrowding in high schools in its municipalities. No high school student must be left behind. That is our goal here,” Parliament Member Suharto Mastura Ambolodto, a co-sponsor of the three bills, said.
Gerard Cagayan, a public elementary school teacher, said he would be happy seeing a high school rise in each of the barangays in his hometown, Upi in Maguindanao del Norte, where ethnic non-Moro Tedurays walk long distances every day to attend classes in so areas far from their homes.
“If these regional education laws get implemented religiously, thousands in Maguindanao del Norte shall have convenient access to secondary schools,” Cagayan said. (JF UNSON)