By Ali G. Macabalang
GENERAL SANTOS CITY
The Mindanao State University (MSU) system after years of existence has gradually gained a notable spot in the global education map, courtesy of the trailblazing operations of its satellite campus here.
The feat has been exemplified in the receipt of local, national and international accolades and citations by the current leadership of the MSU-General Santos (GenSan) campus.
Foremost of the citations was received by Dr. Anshari Ali, the 6th chancellor of the MSU-GenSan Campus, from the prestigious 2019 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Club’s Outstanding Peace Educator Award.
UNESCO officials handed the plaque to Chancellor Ali at a formal ceremony in San Fernando City, Pampanga on Dec. 7, 2019, according to published narratives.
Dr. Ali, excelling academically against the setbacks of being orphan at young age, has since continued to be cited by various entities, including the city government here, the South Cotabato Sanngguniang Panlalawigan, the Office of Senator Manny Pacquiao, and some members of Congress, among many others.
Awarding entities cited Ali for his innovative leadership feats as well as his authorship of a book titled “The Evolution of Islamic Law in the Philippines: History Texts and Analysis” published by the MSU-GenSan campus in 2009, alongside three internationally articles on Philippine Islamic Family Law, Secularism in the Application of Islamic Family Law in the Philippines, and Legal Impediments of the Application of Islamic Family Law in the Philippines.
Ali wrote the book and the three articles while he was administering in 1992 as assistant dean the College of Law extension of the MSU field campus here, which he served first as faculty members. The college extension has since produced more than 150 practicing lawyers nowadays.
Rise to Chancellorship
Impressed of his “honest and diligent” works in the College of Law extension unit, organized deans, faculty members and administrative officials succeeded in nominating Dr. Ali to the MSU system’s Board of Regents in its screening of candidates for MSU-GenSan campus chancellorship, according to audit unit chief Lorraine Sarigala.
The Board chaired by the Commission on Higher Education approved the appointment of Dr. Ali as the 6th chancellor of the MSU field unit on Dec. 16, 2018, after a record-setting selection process done for the “first time without political influence,” Sarigala said.
Thousands of campus constituents swarmed the MSU-GenSan gym here to witness the formal investiture of Ali by dignitaries led by CHED officials on April 8, 2019, she said.
Commitments and mission
In his published investiture speech, Ali vowed to exemplify a regime anchored on three principles: “Reliance to the divine guidance for leadership; Sincerity in fulfilling duties; and Commitment for academic excellence,” assuring to expand linkages to other universities and research agencies in Southeast Asia and international community.
Sarigala said Chancellor Ali spent his first week in office with the revitalization of the campus’ Institute of Peace and Development in Mindanao (IPDM), resulting to the establishment of collaborative links on peace and integration programs with national government agencies, international organizations and non-government entities such as the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, the local government units in Region XII, and agencies of the United Nations.
Dr. Ali created the Office of International and External Affairs (OIEA), leading him to ink formal partnership pacts with academes in Asia, Middle East and USA like the Institute Agama Islam Negara, Pekalongan of Indonesia, Al-Suhri Institute of Higher Learning of Singapore, Sultan Sharif Ali University of Brunie Darussalam, Politeknic Piksi Ganesha of Indonesia, Sharjah University of the United Arab Emirates, International Islamic University College of Selangor, Malaysia, University Technology Mara (UTM), Malysia, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.
He also put up the University Press and Communication Office (UPCO) to promote the GenSan campus as a premier institution of higher education with special mandate to “provide excellent quality education for our young generation including the marginalized peoples among the Muslims and indigenous communities.”
“Through the UPCO, we have significantly increased the presence and visibility of the university in social media by sharing news items and information on recent events in the university and through posting of state-of the-art infographics and digital contents,” Ali said.
The UPCO takes the lead in the development of the contents of MSU official website to showcase the university’s investments toward internationalization and the promotion of peace and integration in Mindanao, he said.
In his recent year-end report, Chancellor Ali enumerated the “fruits of good performance” of the MSU-unit, such as the production of 17 topnotch alumni from the College of Education in the 2019 Licensure Examination for Teachers, the College of Fisheries’ gain of 3rd place among the 2019 best Philippine Schools on fisheries technology, the College of Agriculture’s 5th place in the 2019 best Philippine schools to study Agriculture, the College of Engineering as top 7th among the 2019 best Philippine Schools to study engineering.
He cited successful rehabilitation works on the campus dormitories, its infirmary, and other administrative edifices , as well as the construction of a pre-school building for children of campus personnel facing difficulties in attending classes outside the MSU-GenSan campus compound.
Ali described as a major feat cum challenge the ongoing construction of modern building for an independent College of Medicine and Training Hospital at MSU Gensan to meet the demand of the LGUs in this city, South Cotabato and other parts of Region XII, which has 4.5 million residents.
The MSU Board of Regents approved the establishment of an independent College of Medicine thru BOR Resolution 507 series of 2019 as amended by BOR Resolution No. 250 series of 2020, he said.
He said Reps. Shirlyn Banas Nograless and Congressman Ruel Pacqiuao had filied House Bill No. 7809 establishing the College of Medicine at MSU General Santos City, and providing regular appropriations thereof for other purposes. The bill already passed through the House Committee on Higher Education, and set for plenary deliberation.
“Inshaallah (God willing), the offering of Doctor of Medicine program will be started this coming August 2021. The construction of phase I of our College of Medicine building has been finished, with the phase II costing P500 million to be appropriated by the 18th Congress in the same year,” he said.
He said construction works for the expansion of their campus Infirmary building with the budget cost of P10 million will start in early 2021, in time with the construction of the biodiversity building worth P16 million incorporated in the 2021 General Appropriation Act.
National Peace Center
Dr. Ali said Senator Pacquiao has made initial investments in the MSU-GenSan campus in pursuit of the lawmaker’s intent to make the field campus as a “national peace center.”
Sen. Pacquiao’s efforts have drawn supports from government institutions, including the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the transitional governance of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
MinDA Chairman Manny Piñol, popularly known for his meticulous preference for serious partner-entities, had signed two research-related agreements with Chancellor Ali this year.
The BARMM leadership through Education Minister Mohagher Iqbal had also signed a similar research deal with Dr. Ali, it was learned.
Heads of partnering institutions like Sen. Pacquiao and Sec. Piñol have a similar history of “humble beginning” with Dr. Ali, even as campus constituents assert that the latter has more “heart-toughing” personal history.
The Philippine Muslim Today has obtained a narrative from friends, privy to the “true life story” of Dr. Ali.
Chancellor Ali was born on the 10th Rabi al-Awwal of Hijra Islamic Calendar equivalent to November 26, 1963 in an island village (barangay Balt) of Bacolod-Kalawi, Lanao Del Sur, some five kilometers away from town proper, the narrative said.
The chancellor’s mother Jarulah Abdullah Ali died two years after his birth, the father Mahmud Pangaga Hadji Ali also died when he was five years old.
Dr. Ali was orphaned at a young age alongside three sisters – Karima, Samera and Sinaida. The four siblings were left behind “without a property or house in the Island where there was also no regular school for them to enroll in.
The elder sisters stopped studying in distant elementary and secondary schools, and engaged in fishing to sell part of their meager daily catch to persuade and subsidize their young brother’s study of Arabic and Islamic teachings at a small mosque cum madrasah at their island barangay, the narrative said.
One day, it said, an uncle brought Ali to Barangay Tuka along the coast of Lake Lanao, in Madamba, Lanao Del Sur where he started spending primary school study.
Ali’s subsequent years in elementary and secondary in different regular and Atrabic schools in Lanao del Sur were oft interrupted because his self-financing stance based on daily catch of fish from the lack could no longer suffice for the increasing schools requirements, according to friends.
After elementary school, Ali went to an uncle working as a teacher in the now defunct Pangarungan Islamic College in Marawi City. The uncle facilitated his free high school study, while enrolled at the same time at the Maahad Marawi Al-Islamie, also in Marawi City, to learn more Arabic and Islamic teachings.
Ali finished high school at the Pangarungan Islamic College in March 1980, completing also an equivalent Arabic study at the same Maahad Marawi al-Islamie, the narrative said.
He then pursued college at the Mindanao State University main campus in Marawi City as self-supporting student of Bachelor of Science in International Relations (BSIR) at the university’s King Faisal Centre for Islamic and Arabic Studies (KFCIAS), while continuing higher Islamic and Arabic studies at Ma’had Marawi al Islamie.
A relative-member of the Moro National Liberation Front included Ali among his dependents, who were awarded free tuition with meager stipends under a government program meant to bring MNLF rebels into the mainstream.
Fellow students at the MSU-KFCIAS found Ali diligence and eloquence in Arabic, and elected him vice president in their student organization in 1983-84 and president in 1985-1986, until he completed his B.S. International Relation degree in the same academic period.
After graduation in BSIR degree, Ali worked as teacher at the Mapandi Memorial Medical Center, also in Marawi City, while enrolled for his studies for Master in Muslim Personal Laws at KFCIAS.
The late Alim (Islamic scholar) Dr. Mahid Mutilan invited Ali to join the provincial youth sector of the Ompia Party, a local political party that [propelled Mutilan to the mayoralty of Marawi and later to gubernatorial post in Lanao del Sur.
Ali resigned from his position in the city government under Mayor Mutilan when his application for study grant at the University of the Philippines to take Master of Arts In Islamic Studies at Institute of Islamic Studies was approved.
He transferred to Manila to study at the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines, and served as student assistant at the office of then U.P. Registrar Francisco Encabo Dumlao.
While writing his thesis for his Master’s Studies, Ali joined the Shariah training in preparation for the 1990 Shariah Bar Examination. He successfully passed such exam in later part of the year and then graduated with his Master Of Arts in Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines in 1992.
From the UP campus, Ali went back to Mindanao and joined the workforce of the MSU-GenSan campus here to serve as professor with concurrent designation as secretary of the unit’s College of Law Extension since June 2, 1992.
In 1997, Ali was accorded with a study grant to pursue doctoral studies at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC), International Islamic University (IIU), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. While studying at ISTAC, he wrote two articles published in AL SAJARAH, a campus journal.
Ali finished his doctoral degree in ISTAC in 2002, and returned to the MSU campus here to continue his teaching position with concurrent administrative designations.
In 2007, Ali his third article titled: “The Legal Impediments to the Application of Islamic Family Law in the Philippines,” which was published in the 2007 Volume 27 of the Journal on Muslim Minority Affairs in London, United Kingdom.
He subsequently wrote two books – “The Evolution of Islamic Law in the Philippines: History Text and Analysis” and “The Muslim Educational Need: An Exposition on the Fundamental Elements and Objectives on Islamic Education.”
His two books became parts of the textbooks in the campus’ Sharia Law studies and for the subject Education 213 (Muslim Educational Needs) at the graduate school of the MSU-GenSan unit.
On April 27, 2005, Ali was awarded as “outstanding alumnus in academic” of the Institute of Islamic Studies, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.
In 2012, Ali vied for the Chancellorship at MSU-GenSan, but failed to make it in election. In 2018, he vied again and made it this time, with the MSU Board of Regents and the CHED approving his appointment as the 6th chancellor of the satellite campus here. AGM