Maguindanao gov sends more folks to school PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 15 June 2013 16:22

The provincial government of Maguindanao has intensified its literacy program for poor, but deserving children of poor families to hasten the propagation of “culture of peace” and progress in all of the area’s 36 towns.

More than 2,000 children of poor families in the province have been granted scholarships for this school year under the Maguindanao Program on Educational Assistance and Community Empowerment (MagPEACE).

Provincial budget officer Lynette Estandarte, coordinator of MagPEACE, said an additional 2,061 more poor, but deserving students have been enlisted in the program, bringing to 3,546 the total of scholars of the office of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu.

The MAGPeace has 1,503 student-beneficiaries in the two previous school years, admitted after having been screened by local education officials and community leaders.

The 3,546 MagPEACE scholars are now enrolled in high schools and colleges in the cities of Cotabato and Tacurong, in several Maguindanao towns, and at the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

One of the provincial government’s showcases on the efficiency of the MagPEACE scholarship program is the convergence of Moro, Teduray and Christian beneficiaries studying at the Upi Agricultural School in the hinterland Upi town in Maguindanao.

The school has been teaching MagPEACE scholars about the importance of religious and cultural solidarity in nation-building and in fostering peace and development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“The Magudadatu administration is aware that one way of building lasting peace in Maguindanao and surrounding provinces is to have educated people in the local communities,” Estandarte said.

Re-elected Upi Mayor Ramon Piang, who is also a member of the government’s peace panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said education is just as important as strategic infrastructures and socio-economic programs needed to hasten the attainment of peace in Southern Mindanao’s Moro communities.

“Educate children now, have an educated nation soon. That is the  motivation why we in the local government units in the province supports the MagPEACE program,” said Piang, who was principal of the Notre Dame High School in Upi prior to his entry to politics in the 1990s.

Piang, meanwhile, said that the MagPEACE scholars’ parents have also been receiving “livelihood interventions” from the governor’s office.

Parents of scholars in Upi and other towns are also beneficiaries of agricultural support from the provincial government, such as rubber tree and oil palm seedlings, and farm animals.