Senator Robinhood "Robin" C. Padilla. (PNA file photo)

MANILA – Senator Robinhood "Robin" Padilla filed a measure seeking to bring Philippine history back into the high school curriculum, saying the Filipino youth needed to know the country’s historical roots and cultural heritage.

The subject was removed from the high school curriculum through Department of Education (DepEd) Order 20 issued by then DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro to pave the way for the implementation of the Kinder to Grade 12 (K-12) program. It is being taught separately to Grade 5 and 6 students. The current Araling Panlipunan (AP) curriculum covers various Philippine history topics across grade levels.

In filing Senate Bill 451 or An Act Mandating the Inclusion of Philippine History as a Separate Subject in the High School Curriculum, Padilla said bringing back the subject in high school will help the youth in shaping the country and its people.

"To lead this nation into the future would require an understanding of the country's historical roots and cultural heritage in ideally all levels of formal education," Padilla said in his bill, adding it is unfortunate for the youth to be stripped of the opportunity to wade through the books of the country's "invaluable past."

The bill also stated that the subject should be designed to inculcate a sense of patriotism, and should include the history, culture, and identity of the Bangsamoro and Indigenous People.

Padilla noted that the K-12 primary education curriculum for Social Studies includes subjects such as Asian Studies and World History.

"While supporters of this revised curriculum claim that the 'discussion of events on the country's history is naturally integrated into several subjects,' this representation is of the firm belief that there must be an independent and definitive subject that comprehensively focuses on the study of our nation's own history," Padilla said.

The bill also seeks to enable "critical thinking and discourse" on the effects and relevance of Philippine historical events, persons, and movements to the present.

The measure also aims to help the youth understand the Filipinos' roots grounded on facts and strong historical tradition, patriotism, and identity as a nation.

"Lest we forget the old saying that to deny and obliterate people their own understanding of their history is the most effective way to destroy them. In this representation's hope to steer clear from such peril, the passage of this bill is earnestly sought," Padilla said. (PNA)