COTABATO CITY: Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu of Maguindanao signed a total of 4,254 contracts of Maguindanao Program on Educational Assistance and Community Development (MagPEACE) scholars Monday in Buluan town of Maguindanao.
The contracts bind students to pursue studies and earn professions that would enable them to pay back the provincial government to decrease illiteracy in the province.
Screening officials said there are 377 applicants-students added from 3,877 already secured by Mangudadatu, sponsor of the decade-old Mindanao’s record-setting program, after being overwhelmed by poor parents begging in tears.
“They cried for their kids and their tears swayed the governor,” Lynette Estandarte, provincial budget officer and special projects coordinator, told event-covering journalists in Pilipino.
The 7,000 students with their parents and visitors overflowed the capacity of Buluan gymnasium.
The crowd burst in resounding applause and sighs of joy after Mangudadatu announced: “We accommodated other deserving students, so we now have 4,254 scholars.”
Manawara Kelim, a first year student from Mindanao State University-Maguindanao said in Pilipino with tears of joy, “I am glad that our governor is caring and loving us, inspiring us to pursue our study without worrying from our financial aspects.
“We are poor, only my old brother is sustaining us, but I want him to leave me out of his responsibility, and I am thankful to our governor for realizing this,” she added.
Nasruddin Gunting, a third year student from Cotabato City State Polytechnic said “we are thanking our governor for giving us opportunity to meet our dreams, it has been three years and only 1 year more for me to repay our governor’s kindness.
“Since I am a future educator, I will tell my students in the future that I finished my study because of our governor’s initiative,” he added.
In the same event, the governor signed another memorandum of agreement with administrators of 18 public and private schools in Maguindanao and elsewhere in the country under the MagPEACE, which his administration is subsidizing P24 million annually from the provincial internal revenue allotment (IRA).
Provincial Board member Abubakar Katambak said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is likely to pass this month a resolution authorizing the office of the governor’s standing application for P1.2-billion Omnibus Loan to the Land Bank of the Philippines. Bank officials are waiting for the resolution, he added.