We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms. - Surah An-Nisa’, 163
IT CAN be recalled when Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones visited Cagayan de Oro and conducted a Mindanao-wide consultations with DepEd officials before the month of June has started, also during the visit, she has moved the opening of classes in Marawi City with two weeks delay as compared to the national schedule of opening of classes, which was on June 5.
And two weeks have passed, and yet the conflict in Marawi City remains unclear as when will the military forces can totally get rid of the Maute terrorist group for good. DepEd must have already mobilized its contingency plans should this happen, and as of this writing, thousands of learners who fled the city with their families must have already enrolled in nearby schools that includes the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.
The leadership of DepEd has assured that in light of the ongoing conflict, there will be no discrimination with the students enrolled in other public schools, as well as the presence of military encampments near it.
Briones said that she has mandated school officials that there will be no segregation of students and everyone should be attended by teachers despite of race, religion, and creed.
“School officials are tasked for integration (of students); let us stop the age-old notions (about racial and religious differences),” Briones told reporters May 30.
DepEd has projected more than thousands of student evacuees to be transferring to other public schools especially in nearby urban cities such as Cagayan de Oro and Iligan from both elementary and high school.
In this special coordination, DepEd in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was tasked to provide additional teachers, which may also mean hiring new ones, who can speak regional dialects especially Maranao; the regional divisions will cater for the schools and learning spaces, and the national office will provide for the necessary budget for the mobilization and payroll for teachers.
Meanwhile, not all children and teens were able to go to school this year as some of them remain the evacuation centers. Region 10 also opened its doors to the evacuees along with other neighboring regions.
In its recent update, about 24,413 families from Marawi City taking temporary refuge in Northern Mindanao, with 37 active evacuation centers that housed around 2,441 families, while around 21,972 families were reported to be living with their relatives.
The Field Office 10 of the Department of Social Welfare assured that its personnel and officials are in coordination the Regional Coordination Command Center meeting along with the Office of Civil Defense, DSWD-ARMM, Department of Health and other agencies for regular updating, resolution of issues and point of collaboration pertaining to the disaster operation.
In the frontlines, we see soldiers dying, and a city burning; but behind it are also people suffering. While relief efforts and government operations remain constant, this cannot go on for a long time. Let us not wait that all resources will be exhausted, as there are still a phase by which most parts should be dedicated to rebuild a city in ruins.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 19, 2017.