Marawi mayor warns of extremism in schools
By Mark Francisco
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Philippines News Agency) — Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra has called on law enforcement authorities to help the local government in its drive to monitor and thwart extremist groups from radicalizing students.
Gandamra issued the appeal days after the Mindanao State University (MSU) reopened for the new academic year.
Gandamra said the government must step up measures to prevent radicalism not only inside the MSU campus, but local madrasahs (Islamic schools) as well.
While he does not advocate for the closure of madrasahs, the mayor said they must be “regulated” to prevent radical teachings from “spoiling the minds of the young students.”
“We will not prevent the operation of madrasahs, but we will regulate and monitor them. This is to ensure that our children will really be guided with core Islamic values and not be swayed by extremism,” Gandamra told local journalists here Thursday.
One way to effectively monitor and prevent radicalism is for government to strengthen its intelligence assets, he said.
In the Philippines and in other countries with Muslim populations, a madrasah operates as a school for the study of Islamic religion. It complements its own elementary and secondary curriculum with approval from the Department of Education (DepEd).
Gandamra said he sees the need to vet all individuals and groups interested in reopening existing madrasahs, brief them on the dangers of radicalism and institute measures so it would be prevented.
“This will form part of the rehabilitation of Marawi City,” he said.
Gandamra said the local government unit has already coordinated with both the military and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to make sure that all security measures during the first week of classes in MSU are in place. (PNA)