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Military, Marawi LGU, academe to work on opening of MSU

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Officials of the military, local government of Marawi City, and the academe are working to fast-track the opening of one of Mindanao’s premier universities affected by the ongoing armed-conflict.

Lt. Gen. Carlito G. Galvez, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said they are “crafting a security plan” for the possible resumption of classes and the operation of establishments near the Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City.

"Continuing talks and assessments will be held to weigh things and ascertain the date of opening. We might have to delay it, but we will definitely have to open the MSU for our students and for our people," he said.

"The opening of the university is a challenge, but we have to test the waters and come up with the means to bring back the life of Marawi through the opening of this revered institution,” he added.

"The Mindanao State University is the symbol and life of Marawi City. This is the bastion of knowledge and we will have to open classes the soonest."

The state university is a school that caters mostly to students from the marginalized families all over the Philippines, especially those from Visayas, Mindanao and as far as Palawan.

It has produced a number of distinct professionals and scholars and even topnotchers, both Muslims and Christians in its 56 years of operation.

Disruption of the school operations has greatly affected thousands of lives brought about by the attack perpetrated by the Islamic State-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups in Marawi.

Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson of the Lanao del Sur crisis management committee and a member of the university’s Board Regents, said they are addressing the problem in a “holistic approach.”

He said security measure is needed since there are people living within the school compound who are neither school staff nor students.

He said there is a need to consult and involve the other members of the MSU community so that they too will have ownership over the problem and take part in the solution.

During the meeting, it was also agreed that the school can go on accepting enrollees until such time classes opens in two weeks or on a later date.

MSU president Habib Macaayong said the school administration will actively take part in securing the inner layer of the campus utilizing hired security personnel.

Galvez challenged the terrorists who are still occupying several structures in the city to spare the university.

"I challenge the Maute, if you still have some goodness left in your heart, spare MSU from any harm,” he said, adding that  "I dare the Daesh-inspired Maute Group to cease and desist from this any other atrocious acts that tend to terrorize students and members of the faculty of MSU. That is the least they can do for the youth.”

Galvez said it is important to bring normalcy in the city by opening the MSU.

"Education is the best antidote to terrorism. If we suspend classes and disallow children from going to school, then terrorism has already won," he said.

"The freedom that comes with allowing children to have affordable and quality education should not be taken from them. Your military will do our best, so that the next generation will continue to enjoy that opportunity."

"It is really a challenge in this trying times, in the thick of the battle in the eastern side of Marawi, it is a challenge to open the MSU especially that it is one of the targets of the terrorist."

"I urge every peace-loving citizens in this part of Mindanao to join me in this call for a stop to these and similar attacks on our children and our future. They are innocent and hence must be spared from this misfortune." (Darwin Wally Wee)




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