THE OPENING CLASS- AMALOY-TIPO-TIPO WEST DISTRICT article by Lev Perez and Nur Aisa, one of the volunteer teachers sa Amaloy. edited by Meryl Grace Agudelo
Barangay Amaloy is one of the barangays located in a coastal area under the Municipality of Ungkaya Pukan, in the province of Basilan, Philippines populated mostly by the Tausog, Samal, Yakan and Badjao. The barangay is composed of 8 sitios including the Kinukutan Village, evacuees from Bragy. Kinukutan and Albarka.
A unique beginning of Amaloy Elementary School was about the year 1963, a couple by the name Rufina Hussin and her husband conducted classes in a small open classroom made of bamboo, coconut lumber and coconut leaves. The people touched by the mission of the couple so, the collaboratively constructed the first makeshift classroom. Its establishment was the fruit of labor of the community through the spirit of Filipino values called “BAYANIHAN” which shows the hand in hand efforts of the people in the community to make the work done easily.
The school started as a Primary School and has no permanent school lot of its own. It stood on a lot donated by Sahi family as gesture to the dedication and commitment of the couple to educate the children. Tables and benches made out of coco lumbers servings as the pupil’s first taste of that much sought education. The school aged children were willing to learn so even though they have to walk along mountainous terrains, cross rivers and seas just to come to school, but in year 1972 the class had started to end because of the Martial Law. Due to conflicts, the barangay didn’t have access to education and many of its people were evacuated to other places and resulted why many natives of these areas are illiterate.
In the 1980’s, classes temporarily opened for 3 years, but in 1990’s schooling come to an end because of RIDO till 2000. On the same finally RIDO was resolved and classes continue in the newly built school by the community till 2008, one school building with three classrooms was constructed. The school finally had its regular classes and last March of 2012 was the 1st Closing Exercise after its conversion from Primary School to Elementary School. The people flocked the school to witness the outcome of so many years of the school administration and community stakeholders, journeying together to reap what they have sown. Mixed emotions can be seen on their faces in as much as they become part of school journey to where it is now and last 2014 there were 2 additional classrooms. The school had only 2 regular teachers and currently faces difficulties specially in terms of school facilities and remoteness.
Year after year, enrolees keep on increasing and addition of pupils from other barangays such as Brgy. Bohe Suyak, Matata and hundreds of pupils from Kinukutan, Al-Barka. These children belong to families who were displaced because of the ongoing insurgencies against the armed groups in Basilan. In search for a more peaceful place and opportunity to send their kids to school, the families, moved to Amaloy Basilan.
In the school year 2015-2016, the school enrolled pupils with a total of 662. The school administration is trying their best to accommodate all the enrolled pupils to fit in the limited number of classrooms. Since we began the work of Yellow Boat community in Sitio Amaloy in November 2015, we have seen the struggles of the kids in so many forms:
But its also in the exact same place where we saw children going to great lengths just be in school, which only shows just how important education is to them. For us outsiders, we see their education as the surest way to propel them out of poverty and to make them less vulnerable to be recruited as child soldiers of the Abu Sayyaf group. But for the kids, to be in a classroom, is where they can find most peace.
Let’s raise funds for one more Yellow Boat ( PHP 10,000), and something more precious than words can say:
Two new classrooms (1.5-2m PHP)!