SULU: Three years into his administration, Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), has not built a single classroom in Sulu province.
Sulu, one of five provinces under the autonomous region, was also visited only once by Hataman since he was elected as regional governor.
The Department of Education in Sulu province also made several requests to Hata-man for the building of schools, but got no reply.
Vice Gov. Sakur Tan of Sulu confirmed that school officials have not been getting the needed support from the ARMM, particularly in providing school building in various Sulu towns.
“The Department of Education in Sulu needs school buildings. Up to now I was told there has been no single classroom built by the ARMM in Sulu. We are building schools and covered courts in different towns in the province because there is no help or projects from ARMM,” Tan told reporters.
Provincial Schools Supt. Tim Arbison has sent two letters to ARMM Education Secretary Jamar Kulayan requesting for a school building to replace the 10-classroom Hadji Hassiman Elementary School in Higad in Jolo town, which was burned two years ago.
A letter and the spot report on the fire incident by school head Said Bakil and also endorsed by Jaton Jama, the school district in-charge, were also attached to Arbison’s letters.
But up to now, nothing has been done by Hataman on the shortage of classrooms in Sulu.
Hataman was branded as “ghost buster” by President Benigno Aquino for allegedly “busting” 70 so-called fictitious teachers in the ARMM. However, no one has been criminally charged for this.
Even the licensure examinations review for teachers is also being shouldered by the Sulu provincial government to help local educators pass the yearly examination by the Professional Regulation Commission. Professional educators are hired from Manila and then brought to Sulu to conduct the reviews for teachers. The provincial government also is giving free review classes in Sulu for civil eligibility examinations for those who wanted to work in the government.
“The Sulu provincial government and even the municipal government and the barangay leaders are giving allowances to the teachers, to volunteer teachers to help them cope with their economic needs. We are not asking more [from the ARMM], we only want just enough for the teachers and students. We pity the youth because education is very important to everyone,” Tan said.
Many schools in Sulu were built using provincial funds, including chairs and tables and computers and even boat engines for far-flung schools in island villages such as the Kabukan Elementary School off Panglima Tahil town.
Teachers asked the Sulu provincial government for a pump boat engine to be used for their wooden boat to transport students and faculty members from the town to the island of Kabukan.
Gabir Sarajali, the principal of Kawmpang Elementary School in the town of Patikul, said that Tan, who was then Sulu governor, donated 10 desktop computers, tables and chairs for the students to promote Information Technology.
Provincial engineers headed by Abdurasad Baih said Tan told them to draw a plan for the school’s covered court where students and teachers can hold important activities.
Baih said Kawmpang is only one of many government-run schools in Sulu, which received equipment from Tan. He added that the provincial government has built many schools that benefitted tens of thousands of Muslim students.