Gov't urged to support Muslim schools to avert extremism

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 07 2017 05:15 PM

Monalisa Garuda, a Grade 1 teacher in Marawi City before she was forced to flee because of the conflict, now teaches children at an evacuation center in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MARAWI CITY- An official of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Friday called on the national government to support madaris or Muslim schools to prevent the spread of extremism in the country.

ARMM Assemblyman and crisis committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong called for the inclusion of all Muslim schools in the mainstream educational system so that these could be regulated and supported by the government.

"There are so many madrasa that are still not licensed and not regulated at hindi nabibigyan ng suporta ng national government. It's about time, its our opportunity to correct lapses. We should include them in mainstream educational system," Adiong said.

Madrasa (plural: madaris) is the Arabic word for 'school,' whether religious or secular.

The government has included most madaris in the mainstream educational system to further the cause of peace and development in the south through education.

But military intelligence reports indicate that some madaris are being used by terror groups as vehicles to legitimize the entry of their members into the country.

Adiong said it is not right to blame madaris for the spread of violent extremism because the Ustadz or teachers themselves are the ones teaching the true values of Islam.

He added that supporting Muslim schools would not only benefit the country's security sector but workers in these schools as well.

"Ustadz should be given the opportunity to be part of the educational system. Kailangan bigyan sila ng sapat na suweldo, may benepisyo, 'yung pwede sila mag-loan, decent living, at' yung dignity of work," Adiong said.

Adiong added that with the help of national government agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Education (DepEd), the madrasa curriculum may also be professionalized and improved further.

The crisis in Marawi City, spurred by attacks of the Islamic State-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, has underscored the rising threat of the extremist group in Southeast asia.