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PPSTA reelects first Muslim head

Local News • 14:07 PM Thu Jun 9, 2016
Ali G. Macabalang
Kidapawan City Schools PPSTA National president and Kidapawan City Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Kahar Macasayon, Al Haj,

KIDAPAWAN CITY – The 250,000-strong Philippine Public School Teachers Association (PPSTA) has reelected this year its first Muslim president in what stakeholders described as a fruit of his administration’s restoration of solvency in their organization once gripped by P1.3-billion deficit.The PPSTA board of trustees voted Dr. Kahar Macasayon, Al-Haj, for another three-year term during its national assembly last January in Metro Manila, but the media learned about it only when teachers talked about the feat during their recent Brigada Eskwela activities in this city.On Monday, Macasayon talked about his extended reign in the PPSTA after he addressed school principals and parent-teachers association (PTA) officials in this city at an orientation meeting in prelude to the opening of classes next week.For Macasayon, incumbent city schools division superintendent here, his election in 2013 as PPSTA president and reelection this year were phenomenal feats indicating that perceived biases against Muslims began to fizzle out in the circle of Philippine educators, at least.PPSTA is the national organization of public school educators ranging from classroom teachers up to the level of the country’s Department of Education (DepEd) regional directors. It has 250,000 members, with less than 10 percent Muslim members, according to official statistics.It is governed by a 21-member Board of Trustees, currently with two Muslim incumbent members – Macasayon and Bai Sarah Magarna from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Seventeen of the trustees represent the county’s 17 regions and four from the government’s Insurance Commission (IC), it was learned.Some peers said Macasayon’s colorful career as educator-advocate of peaceful coexistence, interfaith development and good governance earned for him public trust” especially among majority non-Muslim associates, who chose him as PPSTA trustee in Region XII and supported him in higher organizational elections.In the January 2013 PPSTA national election, Macasayon recalled, 12 trustees voted for him, while his competitor - a DepEd regional director from the National Capital Region – obtained nine votes.He said his first three-year term was very challenging” because the PPSTA then had a standing deficit of 500 to 700 million pesos. The financial shortfall peaked at P1.3-billion in 2005, prompting the IC to take over the management of the PPSTA to fix alleged misuse” of funds by past administrators of the 70-year old organization, he added.Macasayon credited his unnamed predecessor who reigned for two terms from 2006 to 2012, and had reduced the deficit to just half a billion pesos.PPSTA inside sources said Macasayon had successfully introduced reforms” that led to the accumulation of at least P4.7-billion in PPSTA assets as of the end of 2015.Because of the positive changes” in the PPSTA management, they said, Macasayon was reelected in January 2016, obtaining 13 votes against the seven votes of his lone competitor – also a DepEd director from Region 8. One trustee reportedly abstained.During Monday’s interview, Macasayon also revealed his successful conduct of the Board of Trustees’ meeting early this month in Koronadal City, a first out-of-town board gathering since the PPSTA inception 70 years ago.He said he was expecting his upcoming installation as members of the Board of Trustees of the Government Service Insurance System pursuant to R.A. 8291, which prescribes for a rotational membership in the GISS ruling body of representatives from the PPSTA and the Philippine Association of Schools Superintendents (PASS).In his current reelection mandate, Macasayong assured to continue upholding the rule of transparency, integrity and participative leadership” in the PPSTA. I am grateful to the entire PPSTA membership for endowing me their trust…I believe that Muslims like me can help make the difference in organizational management when given the chance…My ultimate goal in our group is to help ensure the well-being of every public school teacher in the country,” he said. (Ali G. Macabalang)

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