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JOLO, Sulu, May 11, 2023 (SDN) — Bangsamoro Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal paid a courtesy call today on Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan.
Iqbal, chief negotiator of the Moro Islamic Liberation=h Front (MILF) now governing the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) since 2019, was with MBHTE senior officials in the meeting at the Provincial Capitol here.
Iqbal and his party brought and distributed around Php67 million worth of IT equipment and supplies for Sulu Schools Division Office (SDO) for the use of teachers and students.
For Sulu alone, the group from the Bangsamoro government visited the municipalities of Banguingi on Tongkil Island, Jolo, Patikul, Panamao, Talipao, and Siasi where the MBHTE party distributed the IT equipment and supplies.
After the Sulu visit, the MBHTE group then crossed the sea from Siasi to Languyan Island and Bongao, both municipalities of Tawi-Tawi, for the same purpose.
Sulu chief executive invites other BARMM ministries to visit the province
In all the itineraries, every time he spoke, Iqbal always pointed out the visit’s main goal of meeting in person local government units (LGUs) executives and, particularly, school officials, teachers, and students to hear them out, as well as see the actual situation on the ground.
“We don’t have magic solution,” the BARMM education ministers emphasizes, while assuring the MBHTE will do what it can today, not tomorrow, before the transition phase of the BARMM ends in May 2025.
He also urged the people of Sulu to nurture and help grow the Bangsamoro regional government to attain its full potentials.
On February 11, the MBHTE head had other engagements in the morning but had to cut them short to catch up with the Sulu governor’s schedule.
“Very cordial and frank,” Iqbal notes of his meeting with Tan, the first since their last in February 2020.
As well as a Member of Parliament (MP) of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), Iqbal described Tan as “a leader who candidly says what he likes and what he does not. I like it.”
He said the Sulu chief executive did not ask for anything, except saying he counts on the Bangsamoro government headed by Chief Minister Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim on the delivery of public services as well hoping other ministers of the BARMM would follow the MBHTE’s footsteps in coming to the province.
On his part, Tan invited other heads of the ministries of the BARMM to come and visit Sulu.
“Thank you very much Minister Iqbal. I hope that other ministers would also be able to do the same and visit Sulu,” Tan says.
Governor Tan voices appreciation for visit of MBHTE Minister Iqbal and party
The MBHTE acknowledged the important roles of LGUs in attaining quality and accessible education in the region as it believes a collaborative partnership is imperative between the education ministry and stakeholders.
“With this, the MBHTE believe(s) that bringing and implementing relevant education-related assistance, programs, and projects in the province would be easy and accessible especially if the collaboration with the Sulu LGU has been strengthened,” the education ministry points out.
While in Sulu from May 10 to 13, the MBHTE broke ground for a new school building of the Panglima Agga Central Elementary School, Panamao; turned over a new flagship school building for Hadji Butuh School of Arts and Trade (HBSAT), Barangay Asturias, Jolo; delivered and distiributed IT Equipment and Supplies to Sulu Schools Division Office (SD); and made ocular site inspection of various primary educational institutions for Repair and Rehab.
Iqbal informed Tan of the projects of MBHTE for Sulu in the pipeline, including madaris (Islamic schools), Construction of School Buildings, and many others.
The Sulu governor expressed appreciation for Iqbal’s visit, saying he was grateful for MBHTE’s various interventions aimed at raising the quality of education in the province.
The Bangsamoro region, established in 2018 by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to implement the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), is made up of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the 63 barangays or villages dubbed Special Geographic Area (SGA) that voted “yes” in a plebiscite in February 2019 to be under the BARMM jurisdiction.
According to the Philippine Atlas, BARMM has 4,404,288 people. It has 116 municipalities: Basilan, 11 municipalities; Lanao del Sur, 39; Maguindanao, 36; Sulu, 19; and Tawi-Tawi, 11. Its component cities are Cotabato (the regional center and capital) in Maguindanao; Lamitan in Basilan; and Marawi in Lanao del Sur. (✓)
Sources: Province of Sulu and MBHTE.