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Maranaos prefer the usual Sun-Thursday school days

Asst. SDS Anna Zenaida Unte presiding over the DepEd-ARMM Stakeholders consultation of Marawi City Division last June 20 at APCES, Marawi City. RSO/TNRS

ROCAYA SUMNDAD OTICAL
APCES, Marawi City, Philipines
June 26, 2016

Maranao multi-sector representatives in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur have asked the Education Secretary of the Autonom
ous Region in Muslim Mindanao to retain Sunday to Thursday as regular school days in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur instead of Monday to Friday as embodied in his directive-order addressed to DepEd-ARMM officials and other concerned.

This developed after a consultation among stakeholders conducted by Marawi City school division was held at Marawi City Division’s office is APCES, this city.

ARMM’s Education Secretary Dr. John Magno issued Order 170-2016 last May 25 directing the Undersecretary for Madaris, Assistant Secretaries, Bureau Directors, Schools Division Superintendents and all other concerned, that starting school-year 2016-2017, all classes in the five-province, two-city ARMM will be held from Monday to Friday “to synchronize the holding of classes to the office hours within the region.”


Around 40 teachers, religious and youth leaders in Lanao del Sur who met in Marawi City last June 20 to discuss Magno’s order, had agreed to ask the Secretary to retain the usual Sunday to Thursday school days.

Participants lamented that Secretary Magno hould have consulted the stakeholders before issuing the directive.

It shall be recalled that since the ARMM was set up in 1990, under then Governor Zacaria Candao, schools in Lanao del Sur and Marawi City, have been observing Sunday to Thursday as regular school days.

So far, there was no problem in adopting that schedule. It was also backed by ordinances and resolutions from both Sangguniang Panglungsod and Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Local government offices here are also following the Sunday to Thursday office days mandated by local government ordinances and resolutions.

“This is an adjustment to give way to Friday as rest day since Friday is “the most important day for Muslims, more important than Eid’l Fitr and Eid’l Adha,” Drieza Liningding, Secretary-General of the Bangsamoro National Movement for Peace and Development said.

If the purpose is to synchronize schedules in the ARMM, Liningding asked, “why not make it uniform for the entire ARMM to follow the Sunday to Thursday regular school days? Why not? What’s stopping us? Is there any law prohibiting ARMM to do so? Aren’t we supposed to be autonomous? Does it require legislation from the Regional Legislative Assembly? Why not enact one? Bakit kelangan pag-initan ang Lanao dahil ayaw nila mag-aral during Friday?,”

Lininding said the group appealed to ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman to “reconsider our concerns” and urged incoming members of the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) to pass a law mandating the entire ARMM to make Sunday to Thursday “as regular school days or working days.”

Liningding said he is raising the issue because “we don’t want to attract the attention of the young Muslim radicals in Lanao on this.”

Meanwhile, Hataman told the press that he has directed Magno to conduct a dialogue with the teachers of Lanao and the CSC.

Atty. Laisa Alamia, ARMM Executive Secretary, explained to the media that “since Hataman took over as Governor, first as OIC from December 22, 2011 to June 30, 2013 and as elected Governor from 2013 to 2016, they have been trying to correct the practice in Lanao of having no class on Fridays and observing a month-long holiday during Ramadan.”

She said teachers in Lanao del Sur argued that since their city is “Islamic,” there should be no classes during the month-long Ramadan. The city of Marawi had earlier passed an ordinance declaring a month-long holiday.

But Alamia said that even in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, the whole month of Ramadan is not a holiday. What is a holiday is during Eidl’ Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, and this is from one day to a week. In the Philippines, Eid’l Fitr is a one-day holiday nationwide.

This year, Alamia said, Ramadan in Lanao del Sur is no longer observed as a month-long holiday but teachers are now complaining about the Friday classes.

“Sana huwag nila gamitin ang relihiyon para di magtrabaho (I hope they will not use religion as an excuse not to work),” Magno said.

CSC Resolution 81-1277 states that “during Friday, the Muslim pray day, Muslims are excused from work from 10 o’clock in the morning to 2 o’clock in the afternoon.”

Alamia said that during Ramadan, office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m without break so they can go home earlier for iftar or breaking the fast and to comply with the CSC’s 40 hours of work every week.

An insider in the Office of the Regional Governor said the schedule adopted by Lanao del Sur may be adopted too by the other provinces of the region. “But it had to be backed up by law,” he said.

As of press time, schools and local government offices here are conducting office days from Sunday to Thursday. (With story from MindaNews)

The New Ranao Star

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