By Claire Gigje

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–To respond to the preservation of the cultural identity of Maranaws while ensuring their day-to-day living, the Technical Education and Skills Development (TESD) Lanao del Sur Provincial Office under the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) entered into an agreement Friday, October 15, with the Mindanao State University (MSU) – Main Campus through its King Faisal Center for Islamic, Arabic and Asian Studies (KFCIAAS), and the Raheemah Peace Weavers for the development of contextualized area-based competencies.

“This is a MOA signing kung saan natin irerecognize ang kakayahan ng ating mga community specialist. Sila iyong sa umpisa pa lang, nagpakita kung papaano iyong kanilang craft sa ilang mga taon [wherein we are recognizing the ability of our community specialists. They are the ones who, from the start, showed how their craft is for years], that is part of their custom and tradition in their respective communities. It could be their beadwork and weaving, and all of these works actually represent the tradition and culture of the people,” said Edwin Horca of Save the Children, an international non-government organization backing the Raheemah Peace Weavers in some of its programs.

He said that this is one of the first area-based competencies developed and recognized by the ministry of the Bangsamoro region under the Recovery and Rehabilitation to Sustain the Gains Program.

Dr. Abdulcader Ayo of KFCIAAS conveyed that the initiative signifies that everything is moving forward for more accomplishments and improvements with the continuous support of particular partners.

As they are grateful for the project, he delivered his full support on behalf of the university through rendering assistance in any means.

TESD Lanao del Sur Provincial Director Aleida Mangata also committed that as the effort is part of the healing of the city and the region as a whole, they will develop competency for the four identified beneficial skills, including the kapangantowiras (sequins and beadworks), kapangaol (weaving), and Meranaw brass and baor making.

City Mayor Majul Gandamra lauded the initiative and said that efforts done by the national government in rehabilitating the city through the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and other line agencies are complemented through enhancing and developing skills of the constituents.

Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary and TFBM Chairperson Eduardo Del Rosario further stressed that for this time, the continuation and institutionalization of the cultural identity are vital while still taking into consideration the livelihood component.

“It will go on forever and we will develop more expertise in the process. From the present skills of our community specialist, this will be further honed so that the next generation will be equal or even better from the present group of mentors that we have in the different communities of Lanao del Sur,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mahadir Natangcop Tugaya, the President of Artisans in the municipality of Tugaya in the province of Lanao del Sur, conveyed his gratitude for pushing this kind of endeavor which is seen to be an opportunity to share their knowledge, especially in baor and brass making. (CRG/PIA-Lanao del Sur)