Wednesday Aug, 05 2020 04:30:22 AM

Basilan's capital Lamitan City rising from armed conflicts 

GOVERNANCE/POLITICS • 07:15 AM Sun Feb 2, 2020
John M. Unson
Lamitan City Mayor Rose Furigay delivers her State of the City Address.

COTABATO CITY - The operation of schools in three areas in Lamitan City made dormant for decades by conflicts are again normal since 2018, restored through communal efforts by local sectors.

The now third-termer Lamitan City Mayor Rose Furigay said Saturday she mentioned of the feat in her state of the city address early this week.

The event, held at a public gymnasium in Lamitan City, was graced by traditional elders and elected leaders from the city’s 45 barangays, provincial dignitaries and representatives from the police and the military.

The schools in Barangays Bohebessey, Danit Puntucan and Simbangon were shut for decades due to troubles instigated by local extremist blocs and kidnap-for-ransom gangs.

Furigay said the schools were reopened through the cooperation of the local communities, the Lamitan City government and the security sector.

Furigay said one of several schools in the three areas, the Sabong Elementary School, closed for 19 years, was made functional again through the efforts of the LGU and Myra Mangkabung, the superintendent of schools in Lamitan City.

Furigay’s state of the city address, copies of which were received by media outfits in Region 9 and in the Bangsamoro region via email Saturday, also underscored their gains from two domestic initiatives addressing illiteracy --- the Mastal and Lapis projects.

The Mastal Program, an alliance of students, teachers and learners, is presently helping 1,390 beneficiaries learn how to read through 201 volunteer tutors.

Mastal means teacher in the dialect of ethnic Yakans thriving in Lamitan City, the capital of Basilan, and in 11 towns in the province.

The second educational intervention, the Lapis Program, provides education to children of members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Barangays Baas and Lebuh, where there are government-recognized MILF enclaves covered by the group’s peace process with Malacañang.

Lapis is an acronym for Learning Acceleration for Peace and Inclusive Services, an education campaign supported by the Bangsamoro Ministry of Education via the Lamitan City Schools Division.

In a statement Saturday, Furigay said her state of the city address also reported to Lamitan City residents the awards the LGU got in recent years.

The Lamitan City LGU received from the office of Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año four Seal of Good Local Governance, or SGLG, in the past for years.

She said the city also received the 2018 Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Cities and Municipalities and got a Gawad Kalasag Award from the national government six times in recent years.

“Those were among several awards we got in the past years,” Furigay said.

Lamitan City, covering 45 barangays, is the capital of the now markedly peaceful Basilan, touted as the new investment frontier of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

A transnational firm, the Unifruitti, will start this year the setting up, along with local partners, of a 1,000-hectare Cavendish banana farm in Lamitan City.

The plantation shall employ no fewer than a thousand local residents if fully developed. 

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