On 8 and 9 August, speakers from all walks of life came together to talk about the diverse histories of Mindanao during the 'Conversation on Mindanaoan History and its integration in the Philippine Education System'. Organized by Ateneo de Davao University, Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia and forumZFD, the participants came together to discuss the importance and challenges of integrating Mindanaoan historical perspectives in classroom teaching of Philippine History.
The conversation brought together representatives of academe, civil society, and government institutions who have taken up the challenge to implement Government Republic Act No. 10908 mandating the integration of Filipino-Muslim and Indigenous Peoples history, culture and identity in Philippine History teachings in basic and higher education.
Creating an inclusive historic discourse that pays tribute to the diversity of histories, identities and memories in the country helps students to understand their own roots, get a sense of belonging and cohesion, overcome stereotypes, gain a better understanding of the root causes of conflicts, and thus paving the way for long lasting peace.
“This event is very important as the government and the Bangsamoro are putting an end to a conflict that damaged our homeland for more than four decades. The recent history of Mindanao is full of massacres, deaths, and stories of injustices. This time, the Bangsamoro Organic Law must be fully supported by our people. They can do this if they understand the history of Mindanao.” - Mussolini S. Lidasan, Executive Director, Al Qalam Institute for Islamic Identities and Dialogue in Southeast Asia
Guided by facilitator Mags Maglana, the event started with an exploration of Mindanaoan history from three perspectives: from Indigenous Peoples, Muslim and Christian points of view. There was consensus that every history matters and efforts should be undertaken to document and deepen the understanding of each respective history further.
“The richness of our cultures before the conquest period is not documented in depth. And it is this richness where the lived experience of indigenous people in Mindanao is at the center, and links to the need of recognizing our current impact on the environment” - Brother Karl Gaspar
Then the conversation focused on current efforts and initiatives that promote Mindanaoan history and on the various possibilities of integrating the diverse perspectives in primary and higher education curriculum and text books.
On the second day the participants worked out challenges, opportunities, and next steps. At the end of the 1,5 day event, a working group was formed that will support the government agencies in realizing the RA 10908 and help to integrate Mindanaoan historical perspectives into the curricula and textbooks.
“The representation of Mindanaoan historical narratives in textbooks and curricula on Philippine History is an important step towards ‘dealing with the past’ and building lasting peace in the Philippines. This event brings together those who can make it happen. We are looking forward for more conversations to follow.” - Kathrin Buddendieck, Project Coordinator, forumZFD.