Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program: Peace Dividends of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) beneficiaries listens to the speech of President Benigno S. Aquino III during the Ceremonial Launch at the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) in Barangay Salimbao, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Monday (February 11, 2013). (MNS photo)

The Department of Education has earmarked an additional P250,000 grant to each Muslim school (madaris) to upgrade their physical facilities and improve operational capabilities to better implement a culturally sensitive and Islam-friendly curriculum.

The one-time financial support forms part of the Sajahatra program which seeks to deliver enhanced public services to the communities in the Bangsamoro as a result of the peace agreement signed on October 15, 2012, between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Secretary of Education Armin A. Luistro said the financial assistance to private madaris is aimed at realizing the vision of bringing socioeconomic progress and genuine human development to the Bangsamoro people through education.

“When we invest in education, we also address a host of other socioeconomic challenges that trigger conflict. With education, we spread the light of understanding and solidarity among people,” Luistro said.

DepEd will extend the additional support to private madaris in coordination with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

Based on DepEd Order No. 6, series of 2013, one of the main objectives of the grant is to enable the private madaris to improve their operational capabilities and allow them to undertake necessary curriculum adjustments in order to deliver quality education to students. The end-goal is for them to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills while developing themselves as good Muslim Filipinos.

To qualify for the grant, private madaris must submit a letter of application for the fund mobilization complete with the name, address, contact details, and the name of the head/principal of the school. There must also be the endorsement of the OPAPP, which should be prepared in coordination with OPAPP’s counterpart in the peace negotiation. Another requirement is for the private madaris wishing to apply for the grant to have a minimum of 50 students.

President Aquino included Madrasah education for Muslim learners as one of his priority concerns in his Ten-Point Education Agenda. In 2011, he approved the allocation of P300 million—from P200 million in 2010—to fund various initiatives to ensure that the education the Muslims get is responsive to their specific learning needs.