The Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City on Thursday launched the “Brigada Eskwela” in preparation for the resumption of classes amid the continued armed conflict in the area.

The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said the launch came after recommendations by the administration that classes be resumed and security arrangement be made as high-ranking security officials joined the round-table discussion last August 8.

The university administration is eyeing to resume classes on Tuesday, August 22.

“It is worth mentioning in this occasion that the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), indeed, did not limit itself to providing kind help and support to the university. Just a few days ago, Colonel Romeo Brawner, Lt. Col. Roseno Abad, Lt. Col. Jake Jumawan, and the rest of their company came to us and talked to us about the sustainable security of the MSU so that our faculty, staff, and students will be safe and secured as we finally open the regular classes on August 22, 2017, barring any obstacle or impediment,” Dr. Florencio Recoleto, OIC vice chancellor for academic affairs, was quoted by Westmincom as saying.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, welcomed the launching of Brigada Eskwela as soldiers joined the MSU staff in repairing the facilities and in cleaning the university premises.

“The plan for a the long-term security arrangement is a product of the collaboration between AFP, PNP, and PKF,” Recoleto added.

“That is the reason why MSU is now still standing perhaps as the only remaining shining hope and inspiration to the Maranaos, to the entire Moro people, and to our Christian brothers and sisters alike who have been part of and have given so much love to the university, both as their alma mater and their home for the rest of their lives. Our profuse thanks to General Galvez and all officers of the AFP for coming and for taking care of the university and its constituents. In our hearts, you are indeed our heroes,” he said.

“Guns can kill terrorists, but education can kill terrorism,” Galvez said, quoting the youngest Nobel Prize Awardee Malala Yousofzai from India, a known advocate for freedom of education.

Yousofzai was shot and wounded by a Taliban gunman on October 9, 2012 while riding a bus home after taking an examination in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school.

On October 10, 2014, Yousafzai was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. She was then 17 years old.

Inspired by Yusofzai, Galvez was easily convinced to work out the security problem in order to open the classes at MSU the soonest because it is his personal belief that “education is the antidote for terrorism.”

Galvez said that like Yusofzai, MSU stayed strong and stood her ground amid the intense fighting and dangers just a few kilometers away.

“MSU is the center of hope and the center of freedom; with education, everyone can have freedom,” he said.

The MSU caters to marginalized students across the country, especially scholars from Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan. It has produced a number of professionals and topnotchers in its 56 years of operation. (TPGJR/PNA)

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