Maguindanao inaugurates new campus built by Army
John Unson (Philstar.com) - September 23, 2015 - 3:44am

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - School children on Wednesday started holding classes in a building constructed by Army carpenters inside a campus the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacked more than a dozen times in the past three years.

The new building at the Datu Unsay Central Elementary School was jointly built by the 6th Civil Military Operations Battalion of the 6th Infantry Division and the Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team (HEART) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The school is located in Barangay Meta in Datu Unsay, where the BIFF had operated with impunity for years, until units of the 6th ID drove them away in a series of offensives that lasted from March 28 to May 3.

Marauding BIFF bandits had repeatedly pounded the school with B40 anti-tank rockets and even set one of the buildings there on fire in attacks that prompted different units of the 6th ID to force them out.

Major Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, commander of 6th ID, said he is thankful to the HEART for providing funds and materials for the construction of the two-classroom building.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, Datu Unsay Mayor Reshal Ampatuan and Pangilinan led Wednesday’s symbolic inauguration of the new school building.

Hataman said his administration is keen on expanding its education thrusts to far-flung areas, convinced that it is one of the “surefire solutions” to the nagging security and poverty issues besetting ARMM.

He said credit for the school building project would have to go to the 6th ID, to President Benigno Aquino III, to the House of Representatives and the Senate for entrusting to ARMM huge infrastructure grants in the past three years to hasten the region’s socio-economic growth.

The HEART, comprised of volunteers and trained rescue and emergency responders from different ARMM line agencies and support offices, operates under the ministerial control of Hataman.

Hataman also lauded the Army carpenters who built the school.

Two Army privates, from among the group that constructed the school, were killed in an ambush by BIFF gunmen last June while out to procure construction materials they were to use for the project.

AUTONOMOUS REGION BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BARANGAY META CIVIL MILITARY OPERATIONS BATTALION DATU UNSAY DATU UNSAY CENTRAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DATU UNSAY MAYOR RESHAL AMPATUAN AND PANGILINAN EDMUNDO PANGILINAN HATAMAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE SENATE SCHOOL
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