Grade 1 Pupil Ahmad Nadheer J. Iku, 7, Sings Bangsamoro Hymn, Earns Php14-K

MBHTE Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal holds Ahmad Nadhir J. Iku’s cheeks and kisses him on the forehead. (All photos: SDN — SciTech and Digital News)

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By EDD K. USMAN | Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 | Facebook: SDN — SciTech and Digital News
         BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi (SDN) — It pays to memorize and sing the Bangsamoro Hymn. Like earning Php14,000 in a few minutes.
         Just like that!
         Ahmad Nadheer J. Iku, a 7 years old pupil at Datu Halun Laboratory School, Bongao Pilot Central District, found this out to his big surprise at the Department of Education (DepEd) Gymnasium here.
         The event was the distribution of hundreds of IT equipment and supplies for Tawi-Tawi district schools office and the signing of appointments of ISAL-Asatids Madaris teachers.
         Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (BARMM-MBHTE) Education Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal is here with a high-powered team to look into the situation on the ground concerning education and its attendant issues and concerns. As well as problems they want addressed by the MBHTE.
BARMM Manila Liaison Office Director Ghafur Kanain starts the ball rolling for the school kid.
Teacher Ms. Marilou F. Abdurahman counts the kid’s manna. A cool Php14,000 cash.
         “We are here to hear you out, communicate and learn from you,” says Iqbal. His team comprises of the MBHTE’s most senior officials, such as Director General for Basic Education Abdullah P. Salik, Jr., Director General for Madaris Education, Director General for Higher Education Marjuni Maddi, Director General for Technical Education Rudy Andong, Assistant Secretary for Operations Sitti Mariam Balahim, Chief Legal Division Mujahid P. Guro, and other staff.
         Iqbal hastened to add that “we have no magic formula. This is a process.”
         Iku was brought and introduce to Iqbal at the event’s stage and informed by his class teacher the pupil is the only one in his Pink Rose section who was able to memorize the Bangsamoro Hymn.
         The education minister asked the pupil to sing the Hymn.
         And to the surprise and delight of Iqbal and the other MBHTE officials, and hundreds of students and pupils and Madaris teachers, Iku sung the Hymn and got it done. With flying colors!
        Applause followed what could  be the young kid’s life-changing performance.
         Iku approached the presidential table, guided by BARMM Manila Liaison Office Director Ghafur Kanain, perhaps not able to understand the crowd’s reaction, and took Iqbal and the others’ hand and put them on his forehead one by one in the Filipino manner of “nagma-mano”, an act of respect to elders.
          Iqbal held the pupil’s cheeks and kissed the Grade 1’s forehead, a gesture of love and appreciation and, perhaps, realization that Moro kids appreciate the Bangsamoro Hymn.

          And more surprises followed to everyone’s joy.

          Kanain in a spur of the moment whiffed out a Php500 bill from his wallet and give it to the boy surprised with the bounty.
           That started an informal fund raising for the boy in appreciation for his feat. Kanain played his role to the hilt, encouraging, cajoling, and asking for more bounty for the boy.
The teacher and the pupil.
            Many responded with crisp Php1,000 and Php500 bills. Humanity in an outpouring of generosity for a surprise act of kindness.
             His teacher, Ms. Marilou “Malou” F. Abdurahman told SDN — SciTech and Digital News that Iku and his classmates were asked to memorize the Hymn.
              “Only (Iku) did it,” she says.
Part of the IT equipment and supplies for Bongao schools district.
         It was Kanain who let the ball rolling; he is the busy body of Iqbal’s party, rallying the MBHTE officials to show their humanity to Iku with Php1,000 or Php500 bills, even  Php20 bill.

         And many responded!

          At the end, Iku left the stage with a total of Php14,000 in cold cash in his hands. No one shelled out Php20. Only Php1,000 and Php500 bills.
             What a nice wholesome story for the Grade 1 people! For sure he never expected this day to be as exciting as it was.
                Asked by SDN about his feelings, he said “Masaya po” (Happy), apparently still unable to soak in the moment.
             Teacher Abdurahman said she will give the money to Iku’s mother. (✓)

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