Quantcast
Latest Stories

‘Adult literacy should be part of Bangsamoro transition plan’


BAGUIO CITY—Former Sen. Santanina Rasul and her daughter, Amina Rasul Bernardo, urged Malacañang to make adult literacy a feature of the  Bangsamoro transition plan that is taking shape to end conflict in parts of Mindanao.

Speaking at this year’s National Literacy Conference at Teachers’ Camp here on Thursday, Rasul and Bernardo said half of the 1.2 million voting population of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), who will benefit from a peace settlement, are illiterate.

Bernardo, president of the Literacy for Peace and Development Foundation (Lipad), said 80 percent of the ARMM’s labor force and self-employed could neither read nor write.

Unless the government improves labor force literacy, investors will end up hiring literate workers from Luzon and the Visayas, reigniting the very issues that triggered conflicts in Mindanao, she said.

Adult literacy is “the missing link” to the peace transition, Bernardo told conference participants, many of them teachers and local government officials from various regions.

But she stressed that the ARMM illiterates themselves want the educational avenues opened up.

Citing a survey of Lipad’s clientele, Bernardo said many illiterates expressed the need to learn so they could draw money from automated teller machines unaided, cast their votes during elections without assistance and communicate with family, friends or business clients through text messaging.

“They know voice charges are more expensive than sending text messages,” Rasul said on Wednesday, when she discussed the program with the Inquirer.

“We also spoke to this woman who had a clear candidate in mind [in a recent election] but while that candidate had a short name, she noticed that the person assisting her had put down a long name,” she said.

Rasul, president of the Magbassa Kita Foundation Inc., said she began her literacy campaign in the 1960s but had seen progress only recently.

She said they were supported by local governments; the Philippine Marines, who trained to become literacy teachers in Tawi-Tawi; international aid organizations; and a telecommunications company that was drawn to the crusade because of a potentially large market.

Bernardo said Lipad conducted classes in 25 percent of the 2,490 barangays in the ARMM. “That’s about 619 villages and we are [present] in 36 percent [or 42] of the 116 ARMM municipalities. We have graduated 52,000 adult learners. We have not counted the people taught by the Marines. If we add them, we may have graduated 54,000 adults as of Sept. 5,” she said.

She said the foundations have trained more than 842 literacy teachers in the ARMM, who have expertise in teaching reading lessons using the mother tongue.

Testimonies from graduates, such as a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commander, who acknowledged that learning how to read helped him follow the peace process, “are triggers for our strong lobbying that literacy should really be considered a principal strategy for the ARMM as we work on [peace] transitions,” Bernardo said.

She said the government and the MILF have formed a transition commission that intends to draft a basic law converting the ARMM into a new regional entity.

“What they want is more effective autonomy. But here’s our problem: How autonomous can a region be if half of their citizens are illiterate and do not understand the concept of governance because they have been isolated due to their illiteracy?” Bernardo said.

Illiteracy also explains why the ARMM ranks the lowest in the country’s human development index and why it remains the poorest region, she said.

The ARMM’s life expectancy range and its standards of living are “closer to the undeveloped parts of Africa [in rank] than it is to Manila,” Bernardo said.

She said the more telling information about the ARMM involves employment because many productive citizens end up selling street food for a living because of their illiteracy.

“Even if you bring billions of investments to the ARMM, if this is the capacity of our workers, how are they going to avail themselves of the opportunities? What will happen? You put up a business but where will your workers come from? Of course, outside the ARMM… It could create a new set of triggers for conflict,” she said. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bangsamoro , Mindanao , News , Peace Talks , Regions




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Healing priest invites political leaders to join ‘prayer for nation’
  • Tagle: Christ’s resurrection a message of hope to faithful
  • Aquino vows to intensify anti-corruption drive further
  • Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  • Nepal calls off search for missing guides on Everest—official
  • Sports

  • Rain or Shine grabs No.4, sends Ginebra to 8th
  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Supper power
  • Condo unit sales boosted Shang Properties earnings
  • ERC mulls over WESM price cap for May, June
  • Whatever happened to the ubiquitous pagers?
  • Huge 2013 net profits seen difficult to surpass in 2014
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement