Members of the House of Representatives are pushing to restore Philippine history in the K to 12 curriculum.
The House Committee on Basic Education on Thursday, September 16, agreed to consolidate four bills seeking to mandate the teaching of national and local history in the current basic education curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd).
House Bill No. 8621, filed by Makabayan bloc solons ACT Teachers’ Party List Rep. France Castro, Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Party List Rep. Sarah Elago, calls for inclusion of Philippine history as a separate subject for high school students.
Castro said she was saddened that the subject was removed from the high school curriculum in 2014 as part of implementing the K to 12 program.
“Mahalaga po na lagi nating tinitimo sa ating mga estudyante, sa ating mag-aaral, at sa mamamayang Filipino, ‘yong kahalagahan ng kanilang kasaysayan. Naririto na rin po kasi ‘yong mga values na kailangan nating matutunan (It’s important that we always teach our students, pupils, and to all Filipinos the importance of their history. Because this also includes the values that we have to learn),” the former public school teacher said during the hearing.
House Deputy Speaker Deogracias Victor Savellano, meanwhile, proposed that the history of respective provinces or regions be integrated in the teachings.
In explaining his House Bill No. 4841, the Ilocos Sur representative lamented that local history has been “neglected”.
“Such past local events may not have much historical importance but still creates an indigenous identity for the natives…There is a need to educate youth their local history…so that it will not be lost in time,” Savellano also said in his bill.
Admitting that his proposal could be challenging, Savellano asked his colleagues to appropriate funds for the DepEd’s research to contextualize the history lesson per province or region.
The DepEd welcomed the proposals, although noting that this could also be considered in the ongoing review of the K to 12 curriculum.
“There can be some parallel efforts not just by this committee but also within the context of the ongoing curriculum review,” DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan told the lawmakers.
Educators and stakeholders have also expressed backing for the restoring national history, as well as local history, to develop sense of nationalism and patriotism among students. They also stressed the need to restructure the lessons to make sure the history will be told from the Filipinos’ perspective.
“Sapagkat kung kulang ang puso at isipan sa kung ano, sino, at paano ang pinagmulan ng isang pamayanan tungo sa isang bansa, kailanman po ay hindi tayo magkakaroon ng distinktong pagkakakinlanlang Filipino (Because if the heart and mind lack the knowledge about what, who, and how communities are formed into a nation, we will never have a distinct identity as Filipinos),” said Rene Colocar, president of the Association of Local Colleges and universities.
Committee chairperson and Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said the bills will be consolidated to a substitute bill in a technical working group to fast track its approval in the lower chamber.