‘Getting proper education means empowerment’: BDA Chair tells Bangsamoro scholars

The Chairman of Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) underscored the importance of seeking knowledge to every Muslim and said “We believe that getting proper education means empowerment” in his message to young Bangsamoro scholars during the scholarship contract signing ceremony held at Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City on May 20, 2016.

“The primacy of education cannot be overemphasized,” BDA Chairman Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan said and he related that the first divine revelation to Prophet Mohammad (SAW) is all about knowledge or seeking knowledge.

Around 51 Moro scholars from Mindanao which comprised the second batch of professionals availed the In-Country Scholarship Program (ICSP 2) under the Philippine Australia Human Resource and Organizational Development Facility (PAHRODF) funded by the Australian Government signed the scholarship agreement with the endorsee organizations namely BDA, Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) and the Department of Education- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Launched in June 2012, the program initially awarded 99 postgraduate scholarship grants to targeted professionals, both Muslims and non-Muslims, in Mindanao particularly those from the post-conflict affected areas.

Dipatuan stressed, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon Muslims, men and women,” and he added that the Prophet of Islam said, “Seek knowledge even in China” which suggests that Muslims are not only confined to learn religious knowledge.   

The BDA chief related that whenever development partners ask BDA about the agency’s priority needs he said, “We always say that our number one need is education.”

He added that capacity building and proper training relevant to the current situation and needs of the Bangsamoro are their top priority needs.

“More than any kind of intervention that could be implemented in the Bangsamoro, education and capacity building has no equal,” he pointed out and that for the BDA, the scholarship opportunity provided by Australian government is “very special.”

BLMI Executive Director Sheikh Mahmoud Ahmad reminded the scholars that they are representing the Bangsamoro and thus they should possess good characters which are expected to every Muslim.

BDA Executive Director Sheikh Mohamad S. Yacob also graced the affair. First Secretary Timothy Smith from Australian Embassy was present and gave his message.