ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – The main campus of Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City have re-opened Tuesday, Aug. 22, to start their classes for the first semester of this school year, amid fresh attacks in Marantao, Lanao del Sur.
More than 9,000 students have enrolled this semester, said Rasid Paca, Chairman of the MSU Crisis Management Committee. But the figures, he said, is slightly lower than expected.
“We are actually expecting 10,000 students to enroll, but because of (the Marawi siege), 9,000 is already a good development,” he explained.
There were 12,500 students in the second semester of last school year, while 2,500 of them have graduated last June, the professor disclosed.
On the same day, an exchange of gunfire happened three kilometers away from the university which began at 5:30 am. The fighting ended at around 7 am, said Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Joint Task Force Marawi.
Petinglay said a detachment in Marantao was harassed by believed to be sympathizers and supporters of the Maute terrorist group.
“We would like to clarify that there is no lockdown at MSU Campus or immediate vicinity. Opening of classes start today. Students in buses will be moving from Iligan to MSU today,” she said.
Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong, who represents the Lanao del Sur Provincial Crisis Committee said the opening of classes in the university showed “academic freedom (breaking) the chain of intolerance and fear.”
“MSU has triumphed today. She rejected hate and embraced openness – a character she’s known for,” he said.
To keep the security in check, the Joint Task Force Marawi partnered with the Rural Transit Mindanao, Inc to provide 12 units of bus to transport students and employees while another three units were provided by the provincial government of Lanao del Sur.
Presently, the main campus of MSU in Marawi City is comprised of 3,481 employees, 1,259 of them are instructors and professors. (davaotoday.com)