Malacañan ASec Berni F. Cruz and Mr. Itschak Benaim from London Pay Surprise Visit to MSU-Marawi
In a simple, short Forum-Luncheon, the University officials led by Pres. Habib Macaayong welcomed to the campus Asst. Secretary Berni F. Cruz, emissary from Malacanang, and Mr. Itschak Benaim, emissary from London. They were accompanied by Ms. Amielyn Madale Limbona, Chairperson of the Pro-Divorce Center Global empowerment, an MSU alumna. The program was held at the CHARM Pavilion on December 5, 2017.
The primary reason for the visit was the marking of the site on which shall rise the proposed Integrated Gender Institute/ Women Institute for Social Entrepreneurship and to see up close the Combat Zone or Ground Zero. After the first leg of their campus tour, that is, an ocular visit to the marked out site in the vicinity of the new College of Education building and the College of Engineering, the party dropped in at the Aga Khan Museum. At the Forum-Luncheon, ASec Cruz who works with the Special Operations Office in Malacanang generously paid tribute to the resilience and indomitable spirit of the MSU leadership and constituents for steadfastly, courageously and heroically soldiering on throughout the five to six months of the Marawi Crisis. “You’re still here. You were here all the time. The Mindanao State University never allowed itself to be deterred by the war in fulfilling its mission.” He found it all amazing and remarkable. Such kind of commitment and determination, he said, deserve recognition and respect, and more support. The payoff for the sacrifices made in the name of duty should not be long in coming.
Mr. Benaim pledged to find ways and means of providing assistance to help in the rehabilitation of Marawi, including the Mindanao State University. Ms. Madale, a former student of CWS Exec. Director Norma Maruhom who introduced all three guests from Manila, was on the verge of tears when she described how she felt on laying eyes for the first time on the city of her childhood. After the five-month Marawi Siege, it is beyond recognition. She believes, however, that with all the help coming from various sources, especially the central government, Marawi will rise again.
A memorable highlight of the program was the Sining Kambayoka Ensemble’s singing of their signature song – a call for unity and solidarity of Muslims, Lumads and Christians who are all Filipinos and brothers – in which officials and the guests themselves gamely joined and held hands.