by Venus May H. Sarmiento
URDANETA CITY - The Urdaneta I Central School in eastern Pangasinan is now the second home of at least 12 students from embattled Marawi City, upon their transfer to this province.
School Principal Dr. Robert Tababa said the pupils, whose age bracket range from seven to 12 years old, were warmly welcomed by the school despite the lack of school credentials like birth certificates and report cards.
“May Department of Education policy tayo na i-accept ang mga bata maski walang credentials kung may nangyaring kalamidad sa kanila either man-made o natural. Kaya itong mga bata na sinabi ng kanilang mga kamag-anak na galing sa Marawi ay andito ngayon,” Tababa told the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
Tababa said the pupils, who were mostly girls, were just interviewed and were asked their names and grade levels. Their credentials could be traced through the Learners’ Information System of DepEd. Some, however, could not recall the name of their school in Marawi and their principal’s name.
Most of the children were enrolled by their relatives residing in Urdaneta and the children’s parents went back to Marawi, he said.
The principal said the transferees will not have a hard time blending well with Pangasinenses because they can speak good Filipino (Tagalog).
Brothers Hamza and Hizam (surname withheld), two of the pupils who transferred to Urdaneta, are now in Grade 2.
They said their parents brought them to Pangasinan because “may barilan sa Marawi”. Based on their stories, their school named Pilot Central School, was bombed and their aunt’s house was rained with bullets.
Grade 2 teacher Analyn Dela Cruz said she didn't see any trace of trauma among her students even if they came from a conflict-torn city.
“Ok naman sila at magagalang. Sila pa nga ang leader-leader sa classroom kasi magaling sila. Kahit transferees, very good sila.” Dela Cruz told PIA. (VHS/PIA-Pangasinan)