COTABATO CITY – Two ladies belonging to cash-strapped Muslim families have finished degrees in medicine and law this summer, the first so far among more than 1,000 alumni of the seven-year old Maguindanao Program on Education Assistance and Community Empowerment (MagPEACE).
Faizah Gladys Kadon Tejero, 27, received her diploma as graduate of law at the Ateneo de Davao on April 29, while Bai Apiyah Haron, 26, will march this May 27 at the Our Lady of Fatima School of Medicine in Bukidnon after completing academic requirements in her study of medicine.
“I am very grateful to my benefactors in the MagPEACE, especially Maguindanao Governor (Esmael) Mangudadatu for I would have not studied and finished law without my scholarship,” Tejero told the Manila Bulletin by phone.
Tejero finished five years ago her baccalaureate degree in political science minor in economics also as full scholar at the Ateneo de Davao.
She underwent a year-long high school study in Indiana, USA as scholar of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange Study Grant of the U.S. State Department, her brief resume shows.
Gov. Mangudadatu earlier announced to reporters Tejero’s graduation, acknowledging the lady scholar’s diligence in pursuing college and law studies despite handicaps caused by the divorce of her parents years ago.
The governor even offered the MagPEACE “extra assistance” to bankroll the review of Tejero to take the Bar exam in November this year.
Tejero said her completion of law study and passing the bar exam subsequently would make her lifetime mantra to be “a warrior for those who do not have a voice–the animals, the trees, and the ocean (and) to fight for the rights of the Bangsamoro.”
In another phone interview, Haron Miling, the father of the scholar-graduate of medicine, said her daughter wants to reciprocate the favors and privileges from the MagPEACE by serving patients in remote villages of Maguindanao in tandem with the workforce of the provincial government’s regular medical missions.
The MagPEACE was launched by Mangudadatu upon his gubernatorial election in 2010, providing then a P3,000 monthly stipend to each of more than 1,500 initial scholars. In 2015, the number of scholars grew to some 6,500 and the regular stipend has since been increased to P6,000, provincial budget officials said.
In the case of Haron, the MagPEACE shouldered about 60 percent of her P120,000 tuition fee per semester, her dad told the Bulletin.
The MagPEACE has already produced over 1,000 graduates in different college degrees and some post-graduate studies, with Tejero and Haron being the first alumni in law and medicine. (Ali G. Macabalang)
Reference by Ali G. Macabalang (https://www.facebook.com/agm4458/posts/10212655395685073)