Australia supports BARMM government's efforts to provide quality education
Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson and BARMM Education Minister Muhaquer Iqbal together led Saturday's activity in Maguindanao province.
Philstar.com/John Unson

Australia supports BARMM government's efforts to provide quality education

John Unson (Philstar.com) - June 1, 2019 - 4:51pm

COTABATO CITY — Interventions by foreign benefactors are effectively complementing current Bangsamoro regional programs addressing illiteracy in conflict-ravaged areas, officials said.

Hadji Ahod Ebrahim, chief minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Saturday he is thankful to the Australian government and other foreign institutions involved in education programs benefiting the five provinces of BARMM.

Australia, the United States of America and other foreign entities have continuing education projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao even before its replacement with a BARMM regional government last February.

“We are facing overwhelming challenges as we confront this illiteracy problem in BARMM. The presence of foreign benefactors around is a big relief,” Ebrahim told reporters Saturday.

Ebrahim, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said the national government and BARMM’s joint restoration of normalcy in underdeveloped areas is partly focused on providing quality education to Moro, Christian and Lumad children.

Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson on Friday reiterated Australia’s willingness to continue helping promote quality education in BARMM provinces.

Robinson and BARMM Education Minister Muhaquer Iqbal together led on Friday a “Brigada Eskwela” activity in the campus of the Kurintem Elementary School in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao.

Robinson then told reporters education is one good solution to underdevelopment.

“It is the key to peace and prosperity,” Robinson said.

BARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi that originally belonged to ARMM.

Friday’s activity that Robinson and Iqbal led together was capped off with their distribution of paints for chairs and classrooms and school supplies for elementary pupils in Barangay Kurintem.

Robinson said he is glad seeing the MILF and the government work together now for peace and development through governance.

“We are supportive of this initiative,” Robinson said.

Iqbal said BARMM is thankful to foreign benefactors supporting its activities meant to hasten the southern peace process covering areas made impoverished by decades of strife.

The MILF got to the helm of BARMM as a consequence of more than 20 years of peace talks between the group and the national government.

Ebrahim said besides Australia and the United States Agency for International Development, they are also grateful to other foreign peace and development-oriented institutions helping the education ministry of BARMM.

Among the ministry’s benefactors are the transnational Nonviolent Peace Force, the United Nations-Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Synergia Foundation, Forum ZFD and the Community and Family Services International.

The International Children’s Action Network, the Single Drop for Safe Water Program and UN’s World Food Programme are also engaged in activities promoting the welfare of BARMM school children.

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