Good news in Patikul

Bud Tumantangis. An icon of Sulu
The last time I came to my dear homeland, Sulu, was during the burial of my late grandfather last July 28, 2011. I stayed for two days in Pandami and Siasi (two smaller islands outside mainland Sulu), and in my return to Jolo, 'great' news were the first things I wanted to hear. But I was disappointed. And I was much more depressed when I saw the headlines that day: "7 soldiers killed and beheaded in Patikul, Sulu." A week later, as the holy month of Ramadhan had freshly touched us, on August 2 or 3, another news headline broke in: "Health Worker Kidnapped by ASG!" How worst can these things still be? 

[pls also read my post "The Great Deception" regarding these matters. To be published soon]

Then I came to a question, "When was the last time that we heard any GOOD news in Patikul or Indanan or in other places in Sulu?" There are actually a great number of activities and happenings done by common citizens, civic organizations and even gov't agencies to develop the quality of life in those areas. But seldom do people 'read' or hear about them. It is not that it's not in the news we just do not have any attentions for them. We always neglect them. When good news come, we say "Naaah, that would only be put to waste." And when bad news come, "Ooooh, this one's interesting!" This is just the way we think nowadays. A great disappointment.


Among those good news we do have is the effort to uplift Literacy in the far-flung areas in Patikul and Indanan.

Poster for "PATIKUL" film, courtesy of
www.cinemalaya.org 
Along with the latest 7th Cinemalaya competition-a famous event where indipendent film makers meet and showcase their new projects-was the creation of a film "Patikul" by reknowned film-maker Joel Lamangan. This short film depicts the story of a small community in Patikul who strives hard to educate themselves (esp. their children) amidst the great turmoil of war. Indeed this is one of those unique films showing the real struggles of the people to achieve a simple dream they have: to be literate and educated. ( This film might InshaAllah be shown here in Zamboanga. I will certainly not miss that!)

Another program that is worth celebrating is the Literacy for Peace and Development or LIPAD Program. A three-year literacy program initiated by Magbassa Kita Foundation, Inc. or MKFI and funded by the USAID. This projects aims on sharing the 'gift' of being literate to the less-privileged, illiterate communities throughout the five provinces in ARMM. Patikul and Indanan were included in the Sulu Province for the first batch of classes. This September, InshaAllah, we will be holding our first series of 'graduation ceremonies' to the new Adult learners who can now read, write and do fundamental math operations. The stories behind these efforts are the things worth sharing about. [I am recently working as the Regional Office Assistant of this program, and I keep records of success stories too :-)]


A Learning Center in Patikul constructed by the local people themselves.
This is where they conduct their classes


Even thought they have few chairs, Adult learners are always eager to attend their classes.
Learning is their priority.

A young learner who never had attended school now knows how to read and write!



LIPAD Facilitator aids an Adult learner, teaching her to operate in math using circles.

A volunteer writes on the board


You see how inspiring these stories can be!

Similar and more inspiring stories are also heard in Lanao, Magiondanao, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi on LIPAD Project. As I said before, there are hundreds more of these kinds of programs throughout A.R.M.M. Yet why do we consider them unimportant? I hope more GOOD news (newses to make it more plural:) will be heard than the bad ones. And it would always be better if we put our attention to these wonderful things rather than discussing on terrorism, ill-politics, corruption, and extra-judicial killings.

Let us learn to look for GOOD NEWS and SPREAD them.

To learn more about the Film "PATIKUL" by Joel Lamangan and its synopsis, visit: http://www.cinemalaya.org/film_patikul.htm

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