THE MINISTRY of Education of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has partnered with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), along with leading Philippine universities, for monitoring, capacity-building and assistance to former combatants in the region. BARMM Minister of Education Mohagher Iqbal and CHED Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III finalized the deal at a meeting in Davao City earlier this week. “We are assisting the BARMM consistent with the policy of President (Rodrigo R.) Duterte that all young Filipinos must have access to quality education and that no qualified student is denied access to education on account of poverty,” Mr. De Vera said in a statement. He also acknowledged the Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. for pushing for the partnership. Under the agreement, CHED and the universities will provide technical assistance on the following: Ensuring the inclusion of private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the BARMM into the government’s student financial assistance program; capacitate and monitor BARMM HEIs on education standards; and develop a database of poor students and children on former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants so they can avail of accreditation and scholarship programs.
Aside from education, CHED will also mobilize the following universities for assisting the BARMM government in other sectors: Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology for engineering and technology; Mindanao State University-Naawan for fisheries; University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) College of Public Affairs and Development for governance, project development and monitoring; UPLB College of Agriculture, Central Mindanao University, and University of Southeastern Philippines for agriculture; University of the Philippines-Manila College of Public Health for community health care delivery systems; University of the Philippines Diliman School of Urban and Regional Planning and UP Resilience Institute for technical assistance to local governments in planning and development; Ateneo de Davao for continuing adult education. A technical working group has been formed to map out the details of the partnership.