BULUAN, Maguindanao: The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) has pledged to provide vocational training courses for 18,000 individuals and construct two training centers worth P40 million here to uplift lives of residents in the region and other conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.
Tesda Director General Guiling Mamondiong said they are also granting 500 full scholarships for students who want to study in colleges or universities nationwide and 200 more for the state-owned Mindanao State University campuses.
He added that the people of Maguindanao “deserved” it, citing ongoing development in the province under the administration of Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu.
“Maguindanao is the next successful province in the country,” Mamondiong said. “I will help… you have a lucky leader like Mangudadatu [Esmael].”
He announced this during the first Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda (CRDA) on infrastructure and economic summit in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The CRDA was launched to help uplift the lives of the residents in the region and other conflict-affected areas in Mindanao with funds amounting to P59 billion to be distributed principally in the ARMM and partly in Regions 9, 10 and 12, according to earlier media reports.
During the summit, some 200 participants were asked to craft precise development plans on poverty alleviation and skills-building interventions for immediate implementation by the Duterte administration.
Meanwhile, Mangudadatu lauded the initiatives, saying they would bolster the province’s eight-point agenda, especially on education.
The training center was to be installed in Parang town for the first district and in this town for the second district, where the provincial capitol is situated.
Mangudadatu called on members of the mainstream Moro rebel groups—Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Bangamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)–to enrol their children in the scholarship programs on one condition.
“They should hand over their children to us and we will take care of them,” the governor told members of the media here.
“I believed that bombings and killings are not the answer to the rebellion but lobbying to understand and address the same,” he said.
Aside from the Tesda assistance, the governor added, the provincial government caters to more than 6,000 college scholars under the Maguindanao Program on Education for Community Empowerment (MagPEACE), launched in 2010 and more than 2,000 already graduated under the program.
Mangudadatu showed to members of the media the Maguindanao Childhood Development Center (MCDC), institutionalized last year and accommodating 108 young students, mostly children of combatants, who are offered a curriculum that includes Islamic studies.
He visited their family-owned Orphanage Center and Arabic High School established by his wife Genalyn, who died in the infamous Maguindanao Massacre on November 23, 2009.
The center has 70 in-house and 200 non-stay-in orphan beneficiaries.