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200 Marawi students transfer schools
The Department of Education (DepEd) has reported that at least 200 affected students in war-torn Marawi City have enrolled in Soccsksargen region schools since the opening of classes on Monday. AP/Bullit Marquez, File
GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) has reported that at least 200 affected students in war-torn Marawi City have enrolled in Soccsksargen region schools since the opening of classes on Monday.
DepEd Region 12 director Arturo Bayocot said the enrollment of the transferees was reported by local division offices.
He said in Cotabato province, there were more than 50 enrollees from Marawi City while 40 others transferred to Sultan Kudarat province.
The rest, Bayocot said, were accommodated by schools in Koronadal City, General Santos City and South Cotabato province.
Bayocot also claimed they would still welcome students displaced from Marawi City and Lanao del Sur until June 30, including those who do not have proper documents.
“Because of this, we are encouraging the parents who are in the evacuation centers to bring their kids to the nearest public schools for their studies,” Bayocot said.
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He claimed that the region currently has 1,096,320 students in 1,746 elementary schools and 499 secondary schools.
Given this figure, Bayocot clarified that the interest of the students to go to school was not actually affected by the implementation of martial law in Mindanao after the Maute group attacked Marawi City last May 23.
Some 44 students displaced by the fighting in Marawi have been accommodated in various public schools in Central Luzon after the DepEd granted special waivers on the usual requirements for school transferees.
DepEd regional information officer Michelle Catap said the students are now enrolled in schools in Angeles City, Zambales, Tarlac, Meycauayan City in Bulacan, Gapan City in Nueva Ecija, Olongapo City and Aurora.
DepEd has estimated that around 20,000 youths have been displaced this school year by the conflict in Marawi, where recovery would take time due to damage to buildings and other properties.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones has said DepEd encourages everyone, including those fighting for their cause, to respect schools as zones of peace and protect children to ensure that their learning will be shielded from conflict.
New peace corridor
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) reported yesterday that the composite team of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has opened another peace corridor to ensure the safe passage of noncombatants from Marawi City to Malabang, Lanao del Sur.
OPAPP said that humanitarian aid flowed through the corridor to civilians displaced by the Marawi crisis, to the nearby towns of Malabang, Madamba, Bubong, Masiu, Marantao and Ditsain Ramain in Lanao del Sur.
Several organizations deployed yesterday vans and trucks carrying food, medicine and other aid.
The ARMM Regional Command Center facilitated the deployment of medical doctors and supplies of the International Committee on the Red Cross in Tamparan, Lanao del Sur.
The United Bangsamoro Humanitarian Assistance distributed food to evacuation centers.
President Duterte approved the creation of the peace corridor to establish a secure route so that humanitarian assistance could pass through.
The first peace corridor was established in the three-kilometer Banggulo Bridge to Quezon Avenue in Marawi City that paved the way for the rescue of 134 trapped residents last Sunday.
Irene Santiago, chair of the government panel for the Bangsamoro peace accords, said the peace corridor is a joint effort of the government and MILF peace panels.
The government and the MILF are planning another rescue operation for the remaining 2,000 residents trapped in conflict areas in Marawi City.
“We are aiming to go farther and get as many trapped civilians as we can,” said presidential adviser on the peace process assistant secretary Dickson Hermoso.
This is the second attempt of the government and the MILF through its Joint Coordinating, Monitoring and Assistance Centre (JCMAC) to rescue trapped civilians.
The JCMAC rescued the civilians after officials were able to convince the military and the Maute group to observe a four-hour ceasefire to allow the rescue operations.
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo has assured families displaced in clashes Marawi City that the government would continue providing assistance to them.
Based on latest figures, more than 222,000 people have been displaced by the clashes in Marawi City that started on May 23.
More than 18,000 are currently staying in evacuation centers, while a majority stay with relatives in nearby provinces.
“Thank you to all those who continue to send their donations to the evacuation centers housing our brothers and sisters displaced from Marawi,” Taguiwalo posted on her social media accounts.
She said the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 7 is continuously replenishing its stockpile to send more food packs to Iligan City for the evacuees from Marawi. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Janvic Mateo, Evelyn Macairan, Ding Cervantes, Ben Serrano