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ARMM education system faces overhaul

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Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) caretaker Mujiv Hataman met recently with education officials and representatives across the region and discussed measures to address various issues and concerns gripping the education sector in the region.

Information chief Ali Macabalang disclosed that Hataman met last January 5 field officials and representatives of over 20,000 public school teachers across the autonomous region, and tackled problems ranging from perceived faulty appointment system resulting to existence of alleged “ghost teachers”, frequent delay and slashing of workers’ salaries and benefits, to arbitrary assignments, including “floating” and other forms of arm-flexing by reigning political leaders.

Listening to the complains of school officials and teachers, Hataman told them to “stop politicking” or playing partial roles during election, hinting that the problem arises when leaders belonging to camps not supported by teachers as players in voting, counting and canvassing processes got elected and retaliated by orchestrating details or reassignments of impartial school personnel.

“The best solution to cases of ‘floating’ is for all education officials and teachers to refrain from working for or siding with political parties or individuals in electoral exercises,” Hataman said.

Hataman’s statement reflected a popular notion that for decades, most teachers in the region have been a “determining factor” in the choice of leaders in ARMM during elections.

In the meeting, Hataman reiterated his imposition starting next month of paying the salaries of teachers through the automated teller machines (ATM) in a bid to eradicate and overhaul the alleged existence of “ghost” teachers in the region.

He said ATM cards that serve as an alternative identification card of teachers cannot be tampered with easily and, thus, would help put a stop to the cases of alleged inexistent teachers.

Earlier Hataman told media that he would punitively sanction any public schools officials moving to oppose the enforcement of ATM-based salary payment.

He said he would also impose such scheme in other ARMM agencies especially at their regional offices here with the aid of a proposed use of biometric machines.

Hataman’s aggressive announcement gain thumbs-up among interviewing journalists, who had been receiving field complaints that some schools officials were either slashing their teachers’ salaries or working in cahoots with usurious loan lenders serving mentors.

Civil Service Commission officials led by Regional Director Ressureccion Pueyo joined Hataman at the Thursday meeting, sharing their insights on improving the system of selecting, appointing and promoting teachers and other personnel of the ARMM bureaucracy.

Hataman said his administration would delegate to his subordinates the power of selecting and recommending aspirants for appointments or promotion according to the intent of laws.

By BPIARMM/RVC-PIA9 ZBST




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