Burnt Maguindanao school reconstructed PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 19 August 2015 10:46

Maguindanaon peasants Sahidullah and Moksim both did not work on Monday just to witness their children resume with their schooling in reconstructed classrooms in Barangay Bakat which arsonists burned last year.

Barangay Bakat is located in Rajah Buayan town south of Maguindanao province.

The newly-rebuilt P1.2 million building at Bakat Elementary School was inaugurated jointly on Monday morning by Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, Col. Melquiades Feliciano of the 601st Brigade, and Mayor Zamzamin Ampatuan.

“We are thankful to the different government entities that rebuilt the burnt school building in our campus. Our pupils can now study again fully protected from rain and the heat of the sun,” said school principal Akmad Lumenda.

The reconstruction of the three-classroom building was a joint initiative of the provincial government, the Army’s 40th Infantry Battalion, and the Rajah Buayan local government unit.

The old school building was set on fire by gunmen last year during one of many encounters involving two local clans, which eventually reconciled through the intercession of the Rajah Buayan LGU.

The launching of the school building, constructed using funds from Mangudadatu’s office, was also graced by the governor’s siblings, Zajid, who is an incumbent Maguindanao congressman, Khadafeh and Freddie, a member of the 24-seat Regional Assembly in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and mayor of Mangudadatu town, respectively.

Col. Joel Mamon, commanding officer of the 40th IB, said credit also has to go to local commanders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for providing protection to his subordinates involved in the school building project.

Mamon and his men will start constructing this week an administrative building, to be bankrolled by Mangudadatu’s office, beside the classrooms they have just reconstructed.

Housewives Aila, Sarifa and Gindeng had told reporters they came to witness the inaugural rite since it was the second time, in about 30 years, that a provincial governor had come to Rajah Buayan for a public engagement.

“Di kami makapaniwala na talagang darating dito sa aming lugar si Gov. Mangudadatu. Talagang dumating nga siya,” said Gindeng, whose daughter is a pupil in the same school.

Ampatuan, who was elected mayor only in 2013, said local folks were fascinated with the coming over of Mangudadatu and his siblings.

“It is an indication of their commitment to help address local community concerns and domestic security problems besetting Rajah Buayan,” the mayor said.

Ampatuan said the last governor of Maguindanao to visit Rajah Buayan was the late Sandiale Sambolawan, who toured the area in the early 1980s on ministerial capacity.

The late Andal Ampatuan, Sr., governor of Maguindanao from 2001 to 2007, never came to Rajah Buayan even once despite its being less than 20 kilometers southeast of the provincial capital, Shariff Aguak, where he resided.

Mangudadatu and Pangilinan also jointly initiated, following their engagement in Barangay Bakat, a groundbreaking rite marking the start of the military and the provincial government’s construction of a covered court in Barangay Tukanalipao in nearby Mamasapano town, also in the second district of Maguindanao.

The two events were capped off with the distribution of school bags, supplies and umbrellas to school children by the Maguindanao provincial emergency response team led by Lynette Estandarte, who is chief of the budget division in Mangudadatu’s office.