CHED taps top universities to assist BARMM colleges

Sofia Tomacruz
CHED taps top universities to assist BARMM colleges

LeAnne Jazul

Campuses of Mindanao State University and University of the Philippines are among those that will provide 'technical assistance' in subject areas ranging from engineering to development

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has tapped the country’s top universities to help improve colleges courses in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

In a statement Tuesday night, April 9, CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera III said the commission inked an agreement with BARMM Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal, which focused on improving access to quality higher education in the new Bangsamoro region.

Under the agreement, several universities were tasked to provide “technical assistance” to education institutions in BARMM in specific subject areas, ranging from engineering to development.

CHED listed the following universities and the corresponding subject areas:

  • Mindanao State University (MSU)-Iligan Institute of Technology – Engineering and technology
  • MSU-Naawan – Fisheries
  • University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) College of Public Affairs and Development – Governance, project development and monitoring
  • UPLB College of Agriculture, Central Mindanao University, University of Southeastern Philippines – Agriculture
  • UP Manila College of Public Health – Community health care delivery systems
  • Ateneo de Davao – Continuing adult education

CHED also tapped the UP Diliman School of Urban and Regional Planning and the UP Resilience Institute to assist local government units in planning and development.

Higher education institutions in Mindanao offering the expanded tertiary education equivalency and accreditation program were also be tapped to assist children of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants in completing undergraduate degrees.

What else does the agreement cover? De Vera said that under the agreement,  CHED promised to assist BARMM in making sure higher education institutions in the new region would be part of the commissions’ registry of schools qualified for Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

Having BARMM colleges and universities part of the registry would allow students to apply and avail of the tertiary education subsidy (TES), which provides allowances for books, transportation, and boarding fees under the law.

The agreement also wants to make sure that BARMM develops a database of children of former MILF combatants and poor students to ensure they will be eligible for TES.

This would address the current issue of many students from BARMM who are not part of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Listahanan 2.0 – a roster of families who come from poor households – due to armed conflict or lack of access to communities. Under the law, students who are part of the DSWD’s Listahanan 2.0 are given priority for the subsidy.

De Vera said CHED and BARMM have formed a technical working group to iron out details of the agreement.

Why this matters:  The partnership between CHED, BARMM, and universities is among the first steps being taken to ensure better access to quality education – a factor that many residents in the Bangsamoro region want to see happen as BARMM is instituted. 

Last January, a majority of residents in the Bangsamoro region voted to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law creating a new Bangsamoro region.

Many residents did so as they pinned their hopes on the new region to provide peace, better economic opportunities, and access to health and education services, among others. –

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at