A Cebu-based Muslim teacher went home to Marawi to spend the Ramadan there. She had just given birth.
It turned out that it was not a good time to be home. Marawi became the scene of a war between Maute terrorists and government forces.
Alice Ponce (real name withheld) apparently could not cope with the fear and stress from the war-torn city that she died during evacuation.
Her death was confirmed by Minang Manggis, Cebu City Division Madrasah education coordinator, who said Alice Ponce died during the evacuation in the town of Butig, Lanao del Sur.
“She was one of our 22 contractual teachers here in Cebu City for the Madrasah Education Program,” Manggis told Cebu Daily News.
There are two other regular Madrasah Education Program teachers assigned at the Zapatera Elementary School who also went home to Marawi and are now stranded there.
Elsa Torres and Lora Maranga (real names withheld) with their families have evacuated to other areas within the province of Lanao del Norte.
Torres and Maranga reportedly went home in Marawi City to join their families as they celebrate the start of Ramadan today.
Ramadan begins today, May 27. This is the month when Muslims observe a strict fast from sunrise to sunset.
The 22 contractual Muslim teachers take turns in assignment at 18 elementary schools in Cebu City offering the Madrasah Education Program.
Department of Education (DepEd) Cebu City records show that there are 11 Madrasah permanent teachers and 92 asatidz (teachers on contract of service).
The contractual teachers receive a salary of P6,000 monthly while regular teachers receive P16, 000.
The DepEd website explains the Madrasah Education Program as a comprehensive program for Muslim learners in public and private schools, which provides appropriate and relevant educational opportunities within the context of their cultures, customs, traditions and interests.
Muslim students will learn the Arabic language and Muslim values.