By Anwar Z. Saluwang
COTABATO City (January 22, 2014) – The Students of Doctor of Philosophy in Rural Development (PhD RD) of the Cotabato City Foundation for College of Science and Technology (CFCST), Doroloman, Arakan, Cotabato established the “Bangsamoro Association for Rural Development (BARD).”
“The decision was made after the series of brainstorming meetings and the name was come up in the meeting last January 19, 2014 held at the Research and Development Center of the Department of Agriculture (DA) of Maguindanao,” said Samsodin Amella, PhD RD Student and Executive Director of the Mindanao Action for Peace and Development Initiatives (MAPAD).
Dr Zainodin Adam, Vice President for Administration and Land Development, said: “The only way you can sustain your group as students is to form an organization that will bind you beyond your studentship.”
“This time we need individuals that are equipped with different fields of technical knowledge and skills, and are willing to voluntarily serve the Bangsamoro,” he pointed out.
“We have to always remember that there are communities in the rural areas that have been waiting for us, and we can only make a difference in serving those people if our efforts are organized,” Dr Adam, also a consultant of the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), added.
Asked about the very purpose of organizing it, Daud Lagasi, President of the PhD RD Students, clarified that the said association is aimed at bringing together the Bangsamoro educators and administrators so that they can collectively advance efforts in capacitating the Bangsamoro, and in helping deliver basic services to the Bangsamoro communities especially those battle-scarred areas for their recovery.
Lagasi, also a Director of the Research and Development of the DA of Maguindanao, disclosed that the group met with the Chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Mohagher Iqbal at the BTC Office to hear updates on the development of the Government of the of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace process.
“Having been aware of the development of the peace process, the group now knows where to place itself so that it can help,” Rahib Kudto, Secretary of the PhD RD Students, said.
“I think the group is very instrumental in this transitory period as it can help in both technical and administrative works, if necessary,” Kudto, also a national President of the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), added.
The Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology is a state college located in the Barangay Doroluman and Medlambid of Arakan Valley in Arakan, Cotabato. Formerly Children’s Educational Foundation Village founded by Bai Hadja Fatima Matabay Plang. The Philippine government conferred the college a special mandate that focuses on custodial care and vocational education of underprivileged children affected by the adversities and conflicts in Mindanao.
It is mandated to provide higher technological, professional, vocational training and industrial apprenticeship in the fields of science, agriculture and industry. It is also mandated to promote research, advanced studies and progressive leadership in each area of specialization.