URDANETA CITY, Pangasinan: The Urdaneta I Central School here is second home to at least 12 grade school students from embattled Marawi City and teachers said they have blended well with other students since most of them can speak good Tagalog (Filipino).
Mayor Amadeo Gregorio Perez 4th said the students, whose age are between seven and 12 years old, were warmly welcomed by school Principal Robert Tababa despite the lack of school credentials like birth certificates and report cards.
Tababa told reporters that the students, mostly girls, were only asked about their names and grade levels. Their credentials could be traced through the Department of Education’s Learners’ Information System.
Some, however, could not recall the name of their school in Marawi and their principal’s name.
“Most of the children were enrolled by their relatives residing in Urdaneta City and the children’s parents have gone back to Marawi,” Tababa said.
Brothers Hamza and Hizam (surname withheld), two of the transferees, are now in Grade 2.
They said their parents brought them to Pangasinan because “there is a firefight in Marawi.” They recounted in Filipino that their school, Pilot Central School, was bombed and their aunt’s house was rained with bullets.
Grade 2 teacher Analyn dela Cruz said she could not see any trace of trauma among her students even if they came from the war-torn city.
“They’re okay and very respectful. They are leaders in the classroom because they are bright. Even if they are transferees, they are good,” Dela Cruz added.
There are more than 3,000 Muslims residing in Urdaneta since 1978 according to the record The Manila Times obtained from the officers of the Pangasinan Integrated Muslim Assembly (PIMA) headed by Guia Macmod.
Macmod said their group is also monitoring the entry to Pangasinan of their Muslim brothers whose houses and properties were devastated by to the ongoing war.
He added they are also expecting more transferee students from Marawi to Pangasinan.
JAIME G. AQUINO