BEtween friends: Tropang LIPAD PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 March 2015 11:20

By: Fatima Pir  T. Allian


The Magbassa Kita started its first adult literacy program in 1972 in Barrio Maubu in Patikul.Sulu by former Senator Santanina T. Rasul with funding support from Princess Tarhata Kiram.  By 1987-1992 the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (MECS) adopted the phono-syllabic methodology of MKFI to promote literacy nationwide.  In November of 2009 the organization this time brought its project to the ARMM areas with the hope that after 2 years of running the adult literacy program called Literacy for Peace and Development or LIPAD hopefully will produce 62,500 neo-literates by 2013.  LIPAD envisions reinforcing a person ‘s ability in reading, writing and basic arithmetic but also peace and development efforts that incorporates the values in the curriculum. In that same year I joined the group and saw how powerful and effective its impact were to the communities.

After the 2 batches of classes led by our civilian adult literacy facilitators, we decided to invite women and men in uniform of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 5 (MBLT) headed by then Lt. Col. and now Col. Temoteo Ferdinand Blasco and its Civil Military Operations Officer 2nd Lt. and now Captain Charles Dennis Tan. It was however a struggle for the Tawi-Tawi team to visualize soldiers teaching for 3 months and forgetting about their guns. It was only after our initial conversation when I told Col. Blasco frankly how I feel when I see soldiers and he said politely, “walang panalo sa gera.  Lahat tayo talo.” That line never left me and has stayed within me and became a constant reminder that everyone if given a chance can be an advocate for peace. And so our LIPAD journey for 2 straight years began.

Master Sergeant Arthur Danda and PFC Domingo Obbamin are some of the two LIPAD facilitators we admire most. The two soldiers have shown so much dedication in teaching their adult learners in barangay Pahut and Nalil in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.  Their former adult learners still remember them fondly. In Danda’s class he partnered some of the ISY elementary students with their mothers and grandmothers. He said that the young ones help the others catch up with the lesson fairly well. He always smiles according to Gemma, a mother of 4 and has always been since day 1 patient with everyone. He waits for the mothers to finish household chores and sometimes visit their home to remind them of the class schedule the next day. While we vividly recall Obbamin with two male learners talking seriously in one corner of the day care center in Pahut as their classroom every weekends. Later the three stood up and went in front of the class and shared their story the first few days of LIPAD class. The two fishermen said that it was very difficult for them to do their assigned home works because of their livelihood. One said that Obbamin used to go visit their home and teach them the previous lessons. They hugged and thank him to show their appreciation and gratitude for all the goodness he has shown.

The MBLT 5 graduated more than 500 neo-literates in the province with more than 3 municipalities from 2011-2013. The more than 30 Philippine Marines adult literacy facilitators from MBLT 5 who are now assigned in Palawan, Sulu, Zamboanga City, Cotabato, Lebak, and Sultan Kudarat are interested to start their LIPAD classes. PEACE is the ONLY way and LIPAD with the Marines definitely can contribute to peace and development. Their weapons are not guns, bombs, rockets and missiles. The books, papers, pencils and chalks are their weapons to arm the civilians with empowering knowledge and skills. The MBLT 5 contributed to the 63,751 MKFI LIPAD graduates in the ARMM areas that are now able to read and sent text messages, claim their money padala, sign documents in the banks and vote for their choice.  In 2015 in shaa Allah (God Willing) we may start our LIPAD journey to other parts of Bangsamoro areas and beyond. Alhamdu Lillah!

“And say: My Lord increase me in knowledge.”  (Qur’an, Ta-Ha 20:114)