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A Step towards Historical [In] justices: Reforming the Bangsamoro History

  • Policy Research and Legal Services


This paper explores the redress of historical injustices through the reformation of the Bangsamoro History in the educational curriculum.
A Step towards
Historical [In] justices:
Reforming the
Bangsamoro History
Authored by:
Kebart Licayan
This paper explores the redress of historical injustices
through the reformation of the Bangsamoro History in the
educational curriculum.
A Step towards Historical [In]justices:
Reforming the Bangsamoro History
PRLS-LRD-PC-001-2022 PAGE 1
The Bangsamoro Day is observed on
January 21st, as stipulated in the
Bangsamoro Administrative Code. This
year, the Bangsamoro Government
celebrated its third founding
anniversary with the theme, “Changing
Peoples’ Lives, Transforming the
Bangsamoro: Celebrating and
Sustaining the Gains of Peace and
Moral Governance.” This subject focuses
on the regional government's
achievements in creating peace and
development, as well as reforming the
Bangsamoro, over the last three years. ¹
As a parliamentary professional working
for the regional government, I had to
rethink what our accomplishments
were, and how we could maintain
them. Indeed, the regional government
has made numerous accomplishments
in the last three years, allowing the
region to maintain its peace and order.
However, there is still work to be done
in the coming years. The redress of
historical injustices was one of the most
important elements in the formation of
the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
Yet, dealing with historical injustices
requires more than a sociopolitical-
economic approach. Many people have
been haunted by generational trauma,
which has cost so many lives. Building
an institution will not be enough to
change this issue. How can the BARMM
government address this challenge
now that the people have a chance at
“BARMM Opens Week-Long Celebration for 3rd Founding Anniversary.” 2022. @Pnagovph. 2022.
The Bangsamoro Museum is under the supervision of the Bangsamoro Commission for the Preservation
of Cultural Heritage. It is located at the Bangsamoro Government Compound.
In my first visit to the Bangsamoro
Museum², I was drawn to the walls that
depicted the Bangsamoro's past. The
colonizer's leadership is prominently
featured in the majority of this
chronology. This is the one that has
disturbed me the most. What about the
timetables of local leaders? Where do
they fit within the history? The use of
the colonizer's time period plainly
demonstrates that, despite efforts by
people like Teodoro Agoncillo to include
the colony's voice in the historiography,
Changing the Narrative:
from victimhood to fortitude
PRLS-LRD-PC-001-2022 PAGE 2
we still have a colonial hangover. In a
similar vein, Zeur Salazar’s Pantayong
Pananaw (We Perspective) emphasized
the internal interconnectivity and links
of identification markers inside a
community as a basis for a nation's
history and development³. All of these
mean that the Bangsamoro history
should emphasize the experiences and
narratives of the Bangsamoro people. In
understanding and protecting the
Bangsamoro identity, decolonial
thought and practices should be
promoted. Yet, the question remains,
how do we bring in the Bangsamoro
from the periphery to the center,
especially in the national
Othered Experiences
The predicament of the Bangsamoro
has been ignored since time
immemorial. The Moros have been
othered since then, and they continue
to be othered now, from deliberate
subjugating policies to media
portrayals. These prejudices against the
Moro people have become a daily
struggle. As a result of these events, a
collective victimhood narrative has
emerged. It is hard to denounce this
narrative because “othering” is a real
thing that has impacted a lot of
people's lives. This type of narrative, on
the contrary, is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, it emphasizes the
social consequences of colonialism. On
the other side, several radical groups
have used this story for political gain. As
a result, the region's insecurity has
Reforming Bangsamoro
Education and History
Three years after the creation of
BARMM, we need to move forward.
Moving forward does not imply
ignoring the past or ignoring the reality
of the present. Moving forward
necessitates the creation of a new
narrative that brings us all together.
Reforming education and history are
the first step toward moving ahead and
correcting historical injustices. Growing
up, I could only find Muslims in history
during two periods: (1) the colonial
period and (2) the 1970s and 1980s
secessionist movement. Often, the
depictions emphasize violence. Hence,
an attempt is being made to change
this attitude. A general education
course on the history of Filipino
Muslims and Lumads is offered at
Mindanao State University. Such efforts
must be intensified across the region
and the country.
We must not only inform them what
happened in the past, but we must also
emphasize in historical discourse that
Bangsamoro history is more than
simply bloodshed. This is not to imply
that we should ignore reality, but the
Bangsamoro image is more than just
horrors, violence, and strife. We need to
revise our history curriculum to
emphasize the vibrant Bangsamoro
culture and arts, as well as the victory
brought about by Moro leaders, among
other things. The Bangsamoro's
contribution to Philippine society, such
as economic trade and political
economy, its role in Philippine indepen-
Salazar, Zeus A. 2015. “Ang Pantayong Pananaw Bilang Diskursong Pangkabihasnan.” Daluyan:
Journal Ng Wikang Filipino 0 (1).
PRLS-LRD-PC-001-2022 PAGE 3
dence, and its foreign relations with
other countries during the Sulu
Sultanate period, must all be
highlighted in the curriculum. These
are the things that need to be
emphasized because they are being
erased from Bangsamoro history.
However, such a retelling of
Bangsamoro history necessitates
additional work and materials. Many
educational materials, on the other
hand, are either difficult to obtain
because they are not available in
libraries, or because they do not
reflect Bangsamoro experiences
and cultural demands⁴. Many of
Cesar Majul's, Samuel Tan's, and
other Muslim scholars' works are
essential to comprehending
Bangsamoro. However, more
detailed research on Bangsamoro
history, culture, and heritage is still
required. The lack of written or
decoded manuscripts that specify
the precolonial texts and practices
of Moro society, as well as a larger
effort to record Bangsamoro oral
history, must be addressed. In
addition, we must include the story
of the Bangsamoro's othered others
in the conversation.
Policy Note 1: ‘on the Production of Educational Materials Tailored to the Needs of the Bangsamoro People.’”
2021. Vincent Casil. PRLS (Policy Research and Legal Services). December 27, 2021.
of-the-bangsamoro-people/. Page 3.
What then is a Bangsamoro? At the
government level and even in the
societal discourse, the “Bangsamoro”
identity is limited in the plain
understanding of religion and origin.
There is a need for a comprehensive
study to better comprehend the
Bangsamoro identity. To do so, the
regional government must allocate
funds for research into Bangsamoro
history, cultural identity, norms, and
moral governance. In addition, the
government must bring together all
stakeholders, including local research
institutes, to launch such programs.
This includes hiring local historians as
consultants, assembling all relevant
government agencies, conducting
workshops and fora, and publishing
books, references, and modules. These
efforts fulfill the goal of the First
Bangsamoro Development Plan, which
is to preserve the Bangsamoro identity.
This allows the people to plan their
future in accordance with religio-
pluralism and multiculturalism. Our
story in the institutionalization of
Bangsamoro should move from arm
struggle to fighting against corruption
and malpractices, anchored on a moral
governance framework.
We need to understand the
Bangsamoro identity beyond, and as an
addition to, the usual narratives. We
must learn from our mistakes and
guarantee that we do not repeat them.
Our shared history should bind us
together. A better understanding of
what Bangsamoro is means a better
policy for the Bangsamoro.
Ways Forward
PRLS-LRD-PC-001-2022 PAGE 4
is a Master of Science in International Relations
graduate at Nanyang Technological University
Singapore. Currently, he works as an Executive
Assistant under the Legislative Research Division.
Kebart Licayan
Policy Research and Legal Services
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