COTABATO CITY – It is likely that a fresh bar passer will immediately practice law after years of hard work and patience. But this is not the case for Atty. Aina Sania Alauya-Bayanan.
Aina, 30, as what she is popularly known in her community, is from Marawi City. She is also a displaced resident because of the ongoing fight between soldiers and lawless elements now on its 11th week. While taking law, Atty. Aina was a full-time Science teacher at the Marawi City National High School.
Although she could now find another job that suits her new profession, Atty. Aina, however, chose to continue teaching in one of the makeshift schools in Saguiaran for evacuees from Marawi. “It’s very challenging, but it’s rewarding,” Atty. Aina said. Saguiaran, a town 11 kilometers away from Marawi is one of the municipalities that host thousands of internally displaced persons.
First week of Marawi City siege
Atty. Aina took her oath before the Supreme Court magistrates on May 22, a day before the siege. “Ang saya saya ko pa nun, kasi finally lawyer na ako – nagbunga din ang pagsisikap at pinaghirapan ko,” Atty. Aina said.
The next day, while still in Manila, Atty. Aina can’t explain the mixed emotions she felt afterk nowing that a group of armed individuals was waging fear in Marawi. Two days after the conflict in Marawi started, she signed the Roll of Attorneys in Manila. “Ang hirap maging masaya dahil sa sitwasyon, my parents that time were in Marawi ang hirap sobra,” she said at the time of her signing as a new lawyer.
She can’t even smile knowing her family is in danger and her hometown is at war. “Buti na lang din kasama ko ang dalawa kong anak nung pumunta ako sa Manila,” she added.
“Dahil pasukan na, at pwede kaming i-deploy sa Iligan, mas pinili ko sa Saguiaran magturo, kasi mas nangangailangan sila ng serbisyo namin,” Atty. Aina said.
Parents at times of crisis still prioritize the education of their children, as it will help not only their learning skills but also improves the prospects of recovery. In the neighboring municipalities of Marawi City, challenges in school include overcrowded classrooms and lack of teachers. Still, the ARMM’s Education department continues to exert efforts to help displaced learners by expediting the delivery of education.
The department is operating 11 Temporary Learning Spaces as alternative schools in six municipalities with 3,289 school children and 122 teachers.
Teaching over law profession
Atty Aina admitted remaining a teacher at this time is difficult but reiterated it is also rewarding. “I love my law degree but for now, in this kind of situation, ngayon ako mas kailangan ng mga estudyante, kaya hindi ko sila basta pwedeng iwan sa ere. It‘s absolutely the right thing to do,” she said.
Atty. Aina was a scholar of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) scholarship program dubbed as ‘Empowering the Bangsamoro Region through Active Community Engagements’. She was in the first batch which took the three-day Teachers Assessment and Competency Examination given by the ARMM’s Education department in 2014 and got her item as a secondary school teacher I in 2015.
When asked if she would resign as a teacher and pursue her law profession, she replied “Sa ngayon, mas pipiliin ko muna magturo, hindi ko muna iiwan ang item ko, hindi muna ako magre-resign, dahil kailangan ako ng mag estudyante ko,” she said.
She said it is more fulfilling to help her town mates. “Yung pagiging lawyer ko, andyan lang yan, makakaantay naman yan, pero sa ngayon ang pagiging teacher hindi ko pa pwedeng bitawan.”
In Saguiran school
Atty. Aina is teaching four classes in Saguiaran National High School with about 60 students per classroom. “Kahit kaunti lang ang sweldo, okay lang, dahil isa rin ako sa mga biktima at syempre naiintindihan ko kung ano ang sitwasyon sa Marawi.”
She shared that this time it’s harder to teach students because they are among the most affected by the conflict. “I’ll try to create an environment where my students can feel comfortable and happy, kahit na sa klase namin sinasabi nila na mahirap na ang buhay kasi wala na silang uuwian na bahay,” she said.
Today, Atty. Aina continues her teaching profession amid the conflict. She underscored a classroom is a place where the children learn how to live together in peace and harmony. (Bureau of Public Information)
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