Officials Trying to Account for All Marawi Teachers

Relief workers distribute food supplies to displaced school teachers from Marawi City –

Lanao Del Sur, Philippines, 16 Ramadan 1438/11June 2017 (MINA) – More than half of Marawi City’s 1,424 public school teachers are still unaccounted for since the outbreak of the siege of the city by Maute militants last month.

As of June 10, only 675 teachers assigned in different schools in the city have reported their whereabouts to officials of the Marawi City Schools Division.

Zenaida Unte, assistant city schools superintendent, said Friday that they were still trying to locate the teachers at evacuation sites in Lanao del Sur and in Iligan City in Region 10.

“We don’t want to think negatively like they are in a bad situation, or were abducted or trapped in their homes or are being held somewhere. Hope runs high,” Unte said.

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She said it was possible that the teachers lost their mobile phones while fleeing firefights between security forces and the terrorists.

All schools in the city are closed, but the division office of the Department of Education-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DepEd-ARMM) is open, manned by officials and rank-and-file personnel.


Trying to establish makeshift learning centers

DepEd-ARMM officials are now trying to establish makeshift learning centers in campuses in safer areas for elementary and high school students now at evacuation sites outside of Marawi City.

The effort is being coordinated closely with the central office of DepEd and education officials in Region 10.

John Magno, regional secretary of DepEd-ARMM, said they are trying to find ways for teachers in strife-torn areas to draw their salaries without their automated payroll bank teller machine cards.

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“Many teachers ran for their lives, bringing with them only the clothes they were wearing when the hostilities started,” Magno said.

Marawi City is the capital of Lanao del Sur, a component province of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that also covers Maguindanao and the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Many of the teachers already accounted for by DepEd-ARMM are in evacuation centers.

“We have reports that some of them lost their houses to conflagrations that hit parts of Marawi as a consequence of the raging conflict in the city,” Unte said.

Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, police director of ARMM, and Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Western Mindanao Command, yesterday promised to help locate the missing teachers.

Unte and Magno told The STAR security concerns have been preventing them from checking the condition of schools in ravaged areas.

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“There are areas school officials can’t get through yet because of recurring encounters between militants and military forces,” Magno said.

Unte said they are thankful to the Marawi City local government unit for distributing relief supplies to displaced public teachers who gathered on Thursday in Iligan City for an emergency assembly. “The city government of Marawi is helping them,” Unte said.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman and Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman had separately assured displaced teachers that they would be provided with food and other relief provisions through the regional government’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Response Team.

“We will try our best to locate the missing teachers,” said Lucman, who is also ARMM’s regional social welfare chief. (T/RS5/RS1)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)