Judy Ann Lozada, 17, a fourth-year high school student at PITVHS, was thrilled when she learned about the assistance to their school. “Malayo ang barangay namin sa kabihasnan pero nakarating dito sa amin ang tulong mula sa BEAM-ARMM (Our barangay is in a far-flung area and I cannot believe BEAM-ARMM reached out to us),” she said. Barangay Pilar is located in the outskirts of Maguindanao province, about 2-3 hours away from Cotabato City. While a provincial road passes through the barangay, commuters must traverse a long stretch of dirt road in and out of the area which worsens travel during rainy season. “We are so grateful,” she said excitedly, eager to hone her skills in dressmaking and tailoring.
DepED-ARMM Regional Technology and Livelihood Education Coordinator Corazon Maguate, who was also at the handover, stressed that the techvoc program’s main objective in South Upi is to provide its high school students the opportunity to acquire a TESDA National Certificate (NC) at the community level. “You don’t need to go to Cotabato City or somewhere else just to earn TESDA certificates since you already have a techvoc school in your municipality,” said Maguate.
PITVHS is one of 23 senior high schools assisted through improved curricula and increased competence of teachers. Barangay Pilar in South Upi, Maguindanao is host to three major tribal groups: the T’duray, the indigenous people of the area; the Maguindanaons or the Moro group; and the Christian-settlers. South Upi Mayor Abdullah Campong said during the handover ceremony that the dressmaking tools and equipment “will make a huge impact on their youth.” “I will ensure that the tri-people of South Upi will benefit from this program,” he said, adding that PITVHS will become the center of the town’s techvoc programs and projects. In his speech, Campong shared that the tri-people of the town live harmoniously, “thanks to the Australian Government, this project will further strengthen the ties of my people” he concluded.
Through June 2015, BEAM-ARMM is providing 15,000 OSYs and senior high school students with market sensitive and inclusive technical vocational education, training and skills throughout ARMM where there are high concentrations of unemployed and underemployed youth.
BEAM-ARMM is a comprehensive education and youth development program that enables children and youth in Muslim Mindanao to develop and reach their potential. The Program delivers accessible and healthy learning facilities, quality teachers, learning materials, and a protective environment for children in need and out of school youth, through effective, transparent and accountable management systems. The Program contributes to the alleviation of poverty in ARMM and, in the longer term, to the emergence of sustainable peace through closely targeted investments in basic education that prepare ARMM to engage productively with economic opportunities.