BANGSAMORO SPEAKS:  Making the Tausugs realize the value of education

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 16 June) — Today, we pay tribute to one of the greatest Tausug Muslim educators, who, during his time made the Tausugs realize the value of education.

Mohammad S. Tulawie, fondly called “Mastal Mohammad,”  dedicated his lifetime to his Bangsa, Hulah, Agama.

According to the many narratives of our elders, “Mastal Mohammad” was resolute in his sworn commitment to educate his fellow-Tausugs during his time. Tausug parents then were apprehensive to send their kids to school because they thought once they will be educated, they would be converted to Christianity.

The Mohammad Tulawie Central Elementary School in Jolo, Sulu. Photo from its FB page

However, Mastal Mohammad S. Tulawie, in his clairvoyant vision to uplift the status of his hulah and bangsa from ignorance would personally go to every house of his fellow Tausugs to elucidate to the parents the importance of their kids being sent to school. Because of his conviction and fortitude, parents finally entrusted their children to Mastal Mohammad.

My father narrated to me that it was narrated to them by their grandmother –  the late Hatidja Ballaho-Tulawie, 5th wife of Mastal Mohammad, that to the extent, Mastal Mohammad would provide from his own pocket even the uniform, notebook, pencil and some expenses of the Tausug pupils as well because the parents told Papong Mohammad, “way ba eni Mastal Mohammad ikapami namu mga katas iban ballpen ha mga anak namu” (Well, Mastal Mohammad, we don’t have any money to buy paper and pen for our kids). That was how generous the enthusiastic Papong Mohammad was to his fellow Tausug.

On one occasion, Apuh Basnur- Mohammad Tulawie Jr, one of his children, once visited the office of Sen. Santanina Rasul in Manila. When she learned that he is the son of late Mastal Mohammad, Senator Santanina hugged him and expressed her gratitude because she was one of the many Tausugs who benefited from the advocacy of Papong Mohammad “to make the Tausug an educated people.”

Hence, in honor of his invaluable contributions to the education in Sulu, one of the schools located in Jolo town of Sulu province was named after him- our paternal great grandfather Mastal Mohammad Tulawie (Allaahu Yarhamhu) by virtue of Republic Act No. 3511 signed by then President Diosdado Pangan Macapagal —the ninth President of the Philippines — on 16th June 1962 or 58 years ago today.

From the FB page of the Mohammad Tulawie Central Elementary School

Papung Mohammad was killed in Patikul, Sulu, during the Japanese colonial period. That time, one of his wives, Apu Hatidja vowed to kill his killers and she did as she avowed. In broad daylight that time in Jolo town, she beheaded the three murderers out of her love for and determination to serve justice for her slain husband. Papung Mohammad was laid to rest at Buntod, Talipao, Sulu. He had five wives and 13 children during his lifetime. He was the only brother of the first Sulu Governor, Arolas S. Tulawie.

He certainly was very instrumental and pivotal as a forerunner in educating the multitude of Tausugs. Some of them later became respected prominent leaders and educators of the Bangsa Sug people.

An Act Changing the Name of the Jolo Central Elementary School in the Municipality of Jolo, Province of Sulu, to Mohammad Tulawie Central Elementary School

Republic Act No. 3511
Congress of the Philippines
16 June 1962 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

Section 1. The name of the Jolo Central Elementary School in the Municipality of Jolo, Province of Sulu, is changed to Mohammad Tulawie Central Elementary School. 

(MindaViews is the opinon section of MindaNews. “Bangsamoro Speaks” is open to anyone who wishes to share his/her thoughts on the Bangsamoro. Gamson Jr Mawallil Quijano is a Tausug registered Radiologic Technologist who works in Doha, Qatar but is presently in Zamboanga City. He is one of the great grandchildren of Mohammad S. Tulawie)

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