July 22, 2021, Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Jolo, Sulu – Yesterday, 11th Infantry “Alakdan” Division and the Sulu Ministry of Basic and Higher Technical Education (MBHTE) reached a milestone as 103 learners from Patikul complete their respective Alternative Learning System (ALS) program at Danag Elementary School, Brgy Danag, Patikul, Sulu.
On July 21, 2021, a formal completion ceremony which was graced by military officials led by 11th Infantry Division Commander Major General William N Gonzales, Patikul Mayor Kabir Hayudini and MBHTE officials, was held for the 62 completers of Basic Literacy Program (BLP) and 41 completers of the Out-of-School Youth Program.
In his speech, Patikul East District Supervisor Hji Wilson Ali recognized the role of the army in this endeavor. “Napakatagal na kasi na problematic ang pag-aaral dito sa Patikul dahil sa gulo na dala ng Abu Sayyaf. For a long time, hindi na basta makapasok yung mga teacher sa takot nilang ma-kidnap. Kaya naman yung mga estudyante natin ay nawalan ng gana. Ngayon na nagawa namin ang ALS dito, bumallik na ang interes ng bata at pati matanda.”
“Dahil ito sa mga sundalo ng 21st IB na nag-volunteer bilang ALS instructors. Ngayong araw, bawat isang learner ay sobra-sobra ang tuwa. Ang youngest ata ay 14, tapos kung tama ang tantsa namin ay mayroon doong 60-plus. Pareho-pareho naman silang sobra ang tuwa na nakapag-aral at naka-graduate din,” he added
Per 21st Infantry Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Eddie R Abolencia, former battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Gerald I Monfort personally scouted for personnel who are capable of teaching. The selected soldiers then underwent MBHTE’s instructors’ training. Pvt Edgar C Ligue, a 26 years-old graduate of BS Secondary Education Major in Agricultural Fisheries and Arts, is one of the ten soldier instructors who met with the learners every Saturday since the class opening on January 16 of this year. According to him, the learners enjoyed being enrolled in ALS with their peers so much they look forward taking more classes if possible.
Notably, 56 years old BLP completer Manis Hasan and her son, 22 years old OSY Program completer Almudznir Hasan, both marched on the stage to receive their certificates. “Noong panahon magulo pa kasi rito kaya di ako nakapag-aral. Ngayon, masaya po ako dahil kahit sa ganitong edad may pagkakataon pa rin po akong matuto. Taposo magkikita-kita kami ng kaklase ko kapag Sabado. Kapag naman sa bahay, misan kay Almudznir ako nagpapatulong. Natutuwa ako dati thumbmark lang ako sa mga transakyon, ngayon kaya ko na mag-sulat ng pangalan at pumirma,” she remarked in an interview.
Another BLP completer, is 16 year-old Aldaskan Mannan who had just came back from Malaysia before he enrolled himself in the ALS program. Aldaskan and his parents moved to Sabah on 2007 to gamble for a better life. “Umuwi na kami rito kasi mas okay na rito kaysa doon sa Sabah. Mahirap ang buhay namin doon. Dito nakakita na kami ng opurtunidad para makapag-aral ako at sina papa naman makapag-hanap buhay sa lupa namin,” he said.
For his part, Major General Gonzales shared that he is pleased to attend the occasion as it is also his son’s graduation day. “Doon sa amin, puro online lahat. Mula lectures hanggang graduation. Mapalad tayo rito sa Sulu at hindi ganoon kataas ang risk sa COVID, napayagan tayo ng Sulu Task Force COVID sa ganitong mixed learning,” he said.
“Isa pa, mag-iisang taon na walang terroristic offensive ang Abu Sayyaf. Alam niyo, kahit sabihin nating hindi pa tuluyang natatapos ang sa pandemya at terorismo, dapat lang na hindi natin isantabi ang pag-aaral. Hindi madali ang ganitong klaseng mga adhikain pero sulit lahat para sa kinabukasan ng Lupah Sug,” Major General Gonzales added.