Dr. John A. Magno, our new Secretary, about himself.


 Time and again, the road ahead is both uncertain and unpredictable. Philosophy of Man has always    emphasized that that man comes into this world like a question mark – more than the love that gave him  reason for being he is left with a whole lifetime to put meaning to his existence.

 I also clearly remember what Philosophy explained about fallen-ness and historicity. I came into this world  with certain things that were not of my free choice – my family and my name, among others. I never had  choice of the family I was to be born into, I never chose my name, and neither did I have choice of the way I would be raised nor the place I grew up in. However, Philosophy likewise explained that I have choice of freedom – that from the things that I have been “fallen” into, I am left with the space to chart my life and make it whole – the way I want and the way I realize it must be.

Looking back at my own historicity, I have the least regret of the experiences that have made me who I am now. The sunsets of my years have been well lightened by the many significant sunrises that provided the needed rays of light that could have easily eclipsed my many plans and dreams. All have made me who I am now and who I will be in the future. Time and experience have certainly fixed my sight on the journey I have to take.

School and education have certainly molded me to who I have become. Like many other simple families, my parents have toiled hard to send me to school and provided me with the opportunities to learn life with others and outside the confines of the home. I take pride in my modest beginnings – a simple family, an ordinary community in Basilan – but I take greater pride in big dreams and my efforts to work for them. School was going to be my vehicle, I was convinced. From then on, I took education as seriously as I could: my teachers were my models and every word they uttered was Qur-anic truth. I took them with no jest and thought that if I did, I was well on the road to a bright future.

True enough, after college, determination and firmness of conviction ushered me on to the most noble of professions – teaching. Certainly, I knew that I had what it takes to lead students to where they must be and what they must learn. Seeing myself in the students I taught, I envisioned every single one of them as an “empty jar” that needed to be filled – filled with knowledge and values that would be enough armor for them to weave their own dreams and futures. Their expressions of wonderment fascinated me no end and the same were to be my very own inspiration to strive more and do better. In my hands were part of their future and in passion to teach lies their capacities to appreciate both life and education.

The classrooms of the Western Mindanao State University were my home for some of the most significant years of my professional life. While the classrooms transfused in me the life that I must have for the young, the push to learn more for them was to be my continuing passion. I counted not the hours but the change I effected in the minds of the young. I counted not the days but the gradual transformation the young manifest in the way they act and the words they say. Then I knew that I have found my niche – school. With a keen interest in culture, I was an easy choice to help run the university’s Culture and Arts Office that, during my stint, launched some of the most significant events in the university including the publication of the first-ever Culture and Arts Journal.

The merits of my dedication then opened new opportunities for me – the chance to share in the “burden” of administration. A beginning academic I was, I became Assistant to the Vice President for Corporate Affairs – poking into every detail of corporate management and learning the ropes of fiscal work. None could be more significant in my academic professional career than those that my administrative work provided – a glimpse into middle management work operations and the skill of dealing with people.

With both education and my consciousness, I moved" on to pursue higher education. Starting out with learning the essential rudiments of Public Administration, I decided to complete studies in the area that I have the greatest interest in: Industrial Psychology. People have always been my greatest interest and, I thought, that expanding my knowledge base in human behavioral studies would make me understand the Bangsamoro people better – their hurts, their sentiments, their aspirations, and their dreams. The De La Salle University in Manila was to be my choice to pursue Graduate work. The significant years I have spent in the university have been the most memorable and challenging, bar none. To this day, when memories stream back, they are never without the experiences of hardships that went along the struggle to survive if only to make bigger dreams come true.

Fresh from graduate school in 2011, I took on to what is yet to be the biggest pivot in my professional life: I joined the transitional team that was tasked to effect change in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. With a trailing uncertainty, I committed with a team of idealists to institute reforms in the ARMM. Nothing more than courage pushed me to take the radical choice to shift to governance work in an arena unknown to me and an area strange. But I knew it was what I have always wished for: to work with and for the Bangsamoro people. Finally, the many words of idealism uttered within the confines of the classroom will be tested in the real world. As an old adage says: “…dream dreams and be willing to pay the price to make them come true.” Then was my time to make them come true. There was my crucible to test my words.

My brief stint as Regional Chief of Staff laid before me the challenges I never expected but none could have been more significant in magnitude of work I had to complete. “Chief-ing the Chief” was to be my personal mantra for excellence. After all, coping with the Chief’s standards was an endless work – every hour was a surprise, every minute was a dare to do better, every second was a reminder to responsibility. More importantly, I have to constantly remind myself that it was the people who mattered most.

The short period I took for myself was going to be a long leave for sincere introspection. While options to move over to new areas came, I was too slow to accept any. Like a constant whisper that deafens, the lure to serve is far too strong to resist. Finally, I have chosen to return and serve Muslim Mindanao and its people.

The task of education is never a bit less than to shape a people’s future. Time and again, even at the beginning of formal education and the establishment of schools, education is the very springboard of development.

Sadly, to this day, very few have come to terms with the reality that nothing could be more viable for change to happen than building the base of any nation – the people. When census reports show that literacy rates dwindle, it is not unusual to infer that progress will come at snail pace. The very reason for a dragging economy and a sluggish society is the quality of its human resource. It is from people that development spurs because it is people who will benefit from it. The very genesis of change must be continually enhanced.

The paradigms of learning should never neglect the fact that when people resist change, none could ever be done. It is this fact that schools should never lose sight of. Schools are products of a dynamic social system and reflections of it. And if schools are too far to reach, then schools must go to the people.

The dream of a literate ARMM is never impossible. From us it must start.

My dream lives on. My dream is in my hands. I must TREAD ON.

DepED-ARMM hires new teachers

teacherThe DepED-ARMM augment teaching force for the School Year 2015-2016 in response to the shortage of teaching personnel in the Region. Initially, a 117 teaching applicants, who passed and undergone recruitment procedures from the province of Lanao del Sur, signed their approved appointments, yesterday, March 12, 2015, as a manifestation of their keen and willingness where they be assigned and deployed.

Seated from left : Atty. Sittie Mariam Balahim, Dir. Fatima Abubakar, Dr. John A. Magno, Hon. Zia Alonto-Adiong, and Dr. Sammy Pandapatan.

Image from FB RIO DepED-ARMM

2015 Graduation Message of Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC

Congratulations to our dear graduates! My appreciation goes out to the teachers, school administrators, staff, and parents who have supported and walked with our graduates to reach this milestone.

Today is a testament to your collective efforts—the fruit of your hard work and perseverance. Once again, you have proven that with competence, compassion and a zeal for excellence you can accomplish anything.

Dear graduates, as you turn a new leaf towards the achievement of your dreams, bear in mind the values and lessons you have learned throughout your stay in school. Your education has given you the skills to move forward, to pursue your purpose, and to actualize your dreams. Your education continues to cement your foundations to become a better Filipino; one with a keen sense of both self and community, and one who is mindful of diversity that is grounded on acceptance, tolerance, and peace.

This year’s graduation theme “Saktong Buhay: Sa De-Kalidad na Edukasyon Pinanday” calls to mind the importance of education as we build the foundations of our dreams. Let this be a reminder of the stories of our fallen and living heroes, soldiers and teachers alike, who persevered in their education to secure a decent life for their families. It impresses upon us the power of education in unlocking doors of opportunities and in enabling us to pave the path to a dignified and productive life, a life that is lived not only for ourselves but also for others.

As you forge ahead, you will experience moments of victories and defeats: Let your triumphs be an inspiration for other people; let your losses serve as your motivation to strive for excellence. Let all these collective experiences inspire hope in us to seek greater heights and aspire for a higher purpose. Throughout it all always be mindful of the people who help you along the way and pay it forward to others who will need your help too.

For us in the schools, may this theme guide us all as we go forth and realize our mission to provide Filipino learners a quality education that will empower them to attain their life goals.

Mabuhay kayo!

This entry was posted on March 12, 2015, in Messages.

Brigada Eskwela starts today

The ARMM Government invites all education stakeholders to participate in the 2014 Brigada Eskwela (BE) with a theme, “Making Our Schools Safer”. The BE is otherwise known as “National School Maintenance Week” is an effort, time and resources to contribute by among stakeholders to ensure that school facilities are ready to use by the learners this coming opening of classes.


2014 Graduation Message of Sec. Bro. Luistro


Mainit na pagbati sa lahat ng ating mga magsipagtapos, at sa lahat ng tagapamahala at kawani ng paaralan, mga guro, at mga magulang na tumulong at patuloy na gumagabay sa ating kabataan para makarating sila sa mahalagang puntong ito ng kanilang buhay.

Ang araw na ito ay isang patunay ng katatagan at kakayahan ng bawat Pilipino na muling bumangon matapos ang matitinding unos. Sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng liwanag sa bawat isa sa oras ng kadiliman, napatunayan natin na anumang hamon ang dumating ay ating kakayanin.

Sa gitna ng maraming pagsubok na ating hinaharap, hindi maiiwasan ng iba na isiping sumuko na lamang. Subalit sadyang matibay ang pusong Pilipino hindi nagpapatinag sa kahit anong pagsubok—dahil sa oras ng karimlan ay nakakakita pa rin tayo ng sinag ng pag-asa mula sa pagtitiwala at kasiyahan na ibinabahagi natin sa isa’t isa. Sa mga ganitong panahon, maaaring tayo ay nagalusan ngunit hindi kailanman nagpatalo.

Mga magsisipagtapos, ako ay umaasa na ang temang “Hindi Natitinag ang Pusong Pilpino” ay tumatak sa inyong kaisipan at magbigay ng inspirasyon para makamit n’yo and inyong naisin sa kabila ng mga hamon na darating—hindi lamang para sa sarili kundi para sa kapwa, at higit sa lahat para sa bayan.

Para sa ating mga nasa paaralan, ito nawa’y magsilbing isang paalala ng lakas at tibay ng loob na siyang dapat nananalaytay sa ating instutusyon. Umaasa akong patuloy nating maibigay ang nararapat sa ating kabataan.

Muli, binabati ko ang mga magsipagtapos. Hangad ko ang inyong tagumpay.

Mabuhay ang lahing Pilipino! Mabuhay kayong lahat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       BR. ARMIN A. LUISTRO, FSC

“Keep Grad Rites Simple” – Bro. Luistro.

The Department of Education (DepEd) announces this year’s theme for the Graduation Rites through DepEd Order No. 9 s. 2014. The rites should focus on the theme “Hindi Natitinag ang Pusong Pilipino,” to pay homage to the resilience of the Filipino spirit and its triumphs over the recent string of calamities it conquered over the school year.

Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro wants to maintain the solemnity of the occasion by remaining frugal and simple, “while the graduation rites mark a milestone in every learner, we should keep it prudent and economical. Extravagant attires and venues are not necessary to make an impression; the important thing is we send the message of nationalism, excellence and resilience to every graduate.”

In accordance with the School Calendar for SY 2013-2014, the Graduation Rites should be scheduled either on the 27th or the 28th of March this year. For regions or schools divisions who extended their academic year due to natural or man-made calamities, the Rites should be scheduled based on their respective revised school calendars as approved by DepEd.

All private and public elementary and secondary schools nationwide are expected to strictly comply with the requirements for graduation. Non-academic activities such as attendance to field trips and JS Promenade should not be imposed as a prerequisite to graduation. In line with this, DepEd also reiterates that while Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs) may opt to give cash or in-kind donations, public school personnel are not allowed to collect any graduation fees or any kind of contribution to any student at any grade or year level.

In a separate Regional Memorandum (No. 20 s. 2014) released by DepEd Region 8 Director Luisa Yu, conduct of JS Promenades, Senior Balls, Graduation Balls and other closing activities is discouraged so as not to disrupt classes and to spare students and parents from additional financial burden. In the same light, Graduation Rites in Region 8 should be held the simplest way possible. Yu directs division officials to monitor compliance in their respective areas.

Launching of the Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST) Program

The Philippines, through the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Australian government will sign a Memorandum of Subsidiary Arrangement for the Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST) Program this coming February 21, 2014, Friday at Neptali Gonzales High School, Mandaluyong City.

BEST is a 6-year Aus$150 million (PhP 6.1 billion) program aimed to assist the Philippines in improving learning quality and access to education in the context of the K-12 program. The program aims to improve teaching and learning as well as strengthen the information and management systems of Philippine public education.