Village school rises from the ruins of war

By Frank E. Dosdos, Jr. 

July 15, 2019
Butig Schools District Supervisor Johaila Balt (Photo by Frank E. Dosdos, Jr.)
MARAWI CITY: Heavily ravaged by assorted weapons of war during the battle between the ISIS-Maute terrorist group and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 2016, Ragayan Elementary School in the outskirts of Butig town in Lanao del Sur, is now rising from the ruins, according to the School Principal during the first Flag Raising Ceremony after 3 years, recently. 
Namraida Bao, in a short message recalled how her school stopped classes immediately as the clash between the warring forces began and how the pupils panicked and eventually evacuated from the village and their town. 
The roof of one of the buildings was torn off and the windows totally destroyed; all the walls and roofings of the other buildings were tattered by assorted ammunition from different weapons, she pointed out. 
Only recently, the people were assured that peace is restored at last and the soldiers of the 49th Infantry Battalion led by LtC. Edgar Allan Villanueva built a classroom for the kindergarten class did she decide to reopen the school, she said. 
She told reporters that before the hostilities her school had 260 pupils of which only 171 have returned probably because their families evacuated to faraway places. 
District Supervisor Johaila Balt attended that memorable occasion saying in her message, “Let us maximize our services for our children whose studies had been disrupted for some time. If we are supposed to report at 7 o’clock in the morning we better come an hour earlier.” 
Villanueva whose men built the Kindergarten room also assured that they are always around not only to provide security for the school but also to help in ways they can for the comfort of the schoolchildren. 
Butig Mayor Sultan Atty. Dimnatang Pantar told everyone, “Let us give attention for our children because they are our future.”
After the program soldiers gave school bags with supplies and candies to the Kindergarten pupils, as newsmen took pictures of the event.

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