By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Twelve-year old Mohammad Nur G. Casib, a Grade 6 pupil from war-torn Marawi City, made his fellow internally displaced Maranaos more proud after emerging as champion again in recent mathematical agility tests conducted nationwide.
Casib was named champion in the elementary level category of the prestigious Metrobank Math Challenge (MMC) held in Makati City on March 29-30, besting finalists among 403,707 competing participants from 27, 089 schools or 219 divisions across the country, MMC organizers said.
His father, Dr. Norodin Casib of Marawi City-based Amai Pakpak Medical Center, furnished Manila Bulletin a report from Mathematics Trainers’ Guild (MTG) showing his son obtaining a “perfect score” at the 2nd round of the 8th International Mathematics Assessments for Schools (IMAS) held last March in MTG centers nationwide.
Casib, a Grade 6 pupil of the Precious Child Learning Center in Marawi City, obtained the “highest possible score” in the upper primary division category of the assessment, while Steven Reyes from Saint Jude Catholic School had a similar score in the secondary level category, earning for them gold medals, the MTG report said. The MTG report said 21 pupils came second to Casib and received silver medals. A total 27 students also also received silver medals in the secondary category, the report added.
His feat in the 2019 MMC contest followed his winning of the lone gold medal in the global math challenge held on Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, 2018 in Zhejiang, China, making him the first Filipino champion in the annual international tilt.
In a Facebook message after winning the MMC championship, Casib recalled how the May 23, 2017 Marawi siege and the ensuing five-month fighting stunted his study and motivated him to strive further in his schooling.
Casib described the bloody siege as a “disequilibrium” in his studies.
“No amount of tears can alleviate my sorrows (spawned) by this disequilibrium…Anxiety gripped me more each time I heard news updates about the devastating war in our community (since) my parents are both doctors working in APMC and risking their lives while serving wounded persons,” Casib said.
The state-run APMC is one of the public establishments in Marawi City cordoned by combined combatants of the Dawla Islamiya (Maute) and Abu Sayyaf groups at the start of the siege. There were reports that some of the militants coerced at gun point AMPC medics to treat their comrades wounded in the fighting.
Casib said he strived hard to overcome his trauma from the bloody siege, echoing Albert Einstein’s adage that “in every adversity lies an opportunity.” (Ali G. Macabalang)