Press Release
January 6, 2015


To promote a culture of peace in the country, Senator Sonny Angara has filed a bill that seeks to mandate the inclusion of Bangsamoro history, culture and identity in the curricula of all levels in all schools in the country, starting in Mindanao.

"Peace roots from an understanding of the multi-cultural nature of Mindanaoans--of Christians, Muslims and Lumads alike. Improving such understanding of each other's historical, social and cultural values lays the foundation for mutual respect and unity in Mindanao," Angara said.

The senator stressed that one way of effectively instilling further understanding of Bangsamoro history, culture and identity in the minds of the youth is by including such subjects in the education system.

Angara noted that the roots of the Christian-Muslim conflict in the Philippines can be traced to as early as the 16th century, where Spanish colonizers were successful in using Christianity as a tool of conquest and reducing the Muslim group to a national minority.

"Some contend that this part of our history was where the seeds were planted for relentless biases against Muslim-Filipinos. Sadly, these biases persist today," he lamented.

Under Senate Bill No. 2474, among the key contents of Bangsamoro studies include an understanding of the roots of the conflict and its impact on the rest of the country, the appreciation of the various cultures and ethnic identities, and support for the broader Mindanao peace process and promotion of intercultural dialogue.

"Such a curriculum ought to recall and highlight the positive relations among the Muslims, Christians, Lumads and other indigenous peoples in Mindanao, as well as their common origins and other points of commonality," the lawmaker said.

The proposed measure mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to initiate and maintain the programs, and to consult recognized experts on Bangsamoro history, culture and identity in the formulation and creation of courses or subjects.

The DepEd and CHED will also allow the teaching of Arabic language as an elective course.

"Education is crucial to the peace process in Mindanao. Such a grassroots approach is effective in instilling consciousness and understanding of the Muslim culture, especially for the Christian majority of our country--to possibly eradicate certain biases instilled in the minds of individuals. It is our hope that through these efforts, long-lasting peace will be fully realized," Angara said.

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