EDUCATION AID. A daughter of a Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) mujahideen (center) poses with Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal (left) and Science and Technology Minister Aida Silongan with the replica of her PHP40,000 educational assistance from the government on Monday (June 20, 2022). At least 180 children of former MILF fighters benefited from the program. (Photo courtesy of Bangsamoro Information Office–BARMM)

COTABATO CITY – At least 184 indigent students from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) received educational cash assistance from the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) through the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

The students received funds amounting to PHP40,000 each on Monday under the Mujahideen Assistance for Science Education (MASE) Program of MBHTE.

“Mujahideen” means freedom fighters.

The student-recipients, whose fathers or mothers were former members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), are currently studying in the Bangsamoro region, Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, and Davao City.
MASE is a cash assistance program of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) parliament member Engr. Aida Silongan under her Transitional Development Impact Fund (TDIF) as supported by other BTA colleagues.

It was anchored in MOST’s Science Education, Scholarships, and Grants (SESG), which supports the sons and daughters of former combatants who are taking science and technology courses at any college level.
Silongan said MASE is intended for the “children of the mujahideen who are studying in remote areas and cannot compete with the students studying in colleges and universities in the city.”
Meanwhile, BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim said the program helps to develop future leaders who will lead the regional government in the future.

“For the young generation, the path has been paved, the BARMM government has been established, your priority now is getting a proper education and of the mujahideen by giving back your services to the Bangsamoro individuals,” he said.
Noraida A. Bara, 47, single mom and member of the Social Welfare Committee-MILF, said the assistance for her son will pay for school fees and other expenses.

“He is taking civil engineering course; this aid is very meaningful for us,” she said.

Another beneficiary, Juaniasa Juanday who is taking up B.S. Civil Engineering at Notre Dame University here, said she can now focus on her studies with the financial aid.

“We have the BARMM backing us up in our studies. Long before, my parents are not that capable of spending on my engineering course,” she said. (PNA)