IN PHOTO- Chairman Mohagher Iqbal of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel delivering his message during the celebration of the 99th Anniversary of Upi Agricultural School in Nuru, Upi, Maguindanao

Iqbal graces 99th foundation annniversary of UPI agricultural school

COTABATO CITY. August 28, 2018. The Chair of MILF Peace Implementing Panel Mohagher Iqbal was the Guest Speaker in the 99th year foundation anniversary of Upi Agricultural School - Provincial Technical Institute of Agriculture (UAS - PTIA) located in the hinterlands of Upi , Maguindanao on August 19, 2018.

Upi Agricultural School was founded on August 19, 1919 by late Captain Irving Bryant Edwards, an officer of United States Armed Forces to the Far East (USAFFE).

The school started as a primary school from 1919 to 1923 and converted into a settlement farm school from 1923 to 1929 when it became a regular high school, then as a college offering different courses but remain as an agricultural school.

Upi Agricultural School is headed by Dr.Sukarno B. Datukan as Administrator who said in his message that those in attendance, and whom he acknowledged were Mayor Ramon A. Piang Sr. of Upi and South Upi Mayor Reynalbert Insular, Upi former Vice Mayor Abdullah P. Salik Jr. , other officials and line agencies.

Iqbal in his message narrated the events in the passage of Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) known as Republic Act 11054.

" With the passage of the BOL both the Philippine Government and the MILF reached another crucial milestone in the journey for peace, justice and development in the Bangsamoro, and the rest of Mindanao, " he said.

" I find it relevant to mention that the BOL had provided benefits and privileges to the Indigenous peoples of the Bangsamoro Region that gives them two of the eight reserved seats for special groups or minorities in the region. They are also represented in the Council of Leaders, as well as one Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Tribal Courts to settle problems or conflicts within their communities, an equitable share of revenues from the utilization of mineral resources found in their ancestral lands, and a Tribal University," he added.

" If I were to be asked, I would suggest that the Upi Agricultural School shall be converted into the tribal university because it is already existing for almost a century and it is perfectly situated in the heartland of the indigenous peoples, in particular the Te'durays."

"Because of all these blessings afforded to the Indigenous peoples by BOL, I have no reason to doubt that they will respond overwhelmingly and vote YES in Upi and South Upi comes plebiscite day in December or January of next year."

" I challenge you to take hold of your destiny and this is the most opportune time to start it by supporting the passage of the BOL. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain in this exercise," he stressed.