Press Release
May 23, 2016

Bill seeks to include Fil-Muslim and Indigenous Peoples history
in school curriculum

The Senate today passed on third and final reading a bill seeking to include Filipino-Muslim and Indigenous Peoples history, culture and identity in the curriculum of Philippine History for basic and higher education.

The bill is among the pending legislation passed by the Senate before both houses of Congress will convene as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) to canvass the votes for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the May 9 elections.

Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 3205, said the measure sought to address the apparent lack of understanding among culturally different groups of Filipinos through education.

"This holistic and integrative history shall be introduced in both basic and higher education curriculum as a means of inculcating in our schoolchildren the various strands of Philippine culture, as well as our rich and diverse historical narrative as a nation," Cayetano said.

Under the bill, concerned agencies must consult with recognized experts on Filipino Muslim and Indigenous Peoples history, culture and identity in formulating an inclusive and integrative curriculum of Philippine History, including the writing, printing and publication of textbook and other reading materials.

"I tender these lofty goals with the hope of a Philippines united in strength and peace," Cayetano said.

Also approved by the Senate today was a bill seeking the creation of additional branches of a Regional Trial Court in Calapan City and a Municipal Trial Court in Baco, in the first district of Oriental Mindoro.

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, chairman of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said the creation of additional courts would help declog the courts' dockets and "speed up the administration of justice" in the area.

As of December 2014, he said, the Regional Trial Court in Calapan City has a total caseload of 1,620 cases for its two branches. This is over the manageable caseload for second level courts, pegged at 300 cases per branch in a year by the court administrator.

Under House Bill No. 3145, the additional Municipal Trial Court branch in Baco will limit the jurisdiction of the current Municipal Circuit Trial Court in San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro to cases within the muncipalities of San Teodoro and Puerto Galera.

Pimentel said in establishing the additional courts, the present caseload was considered as well as the geographical situation of the area so that the courts would be linked to the people making the judicial processes more accessible.

"In a society that looks upon the judiciary as the bulwark of rights and liberties, it is imperative that we establish the correct and sustainable infrastructure to guarantee that our people would be able to obtain redress in a speedy and efficient manner," Pimentel said. (Olive Caunan/Apple Buenaventura)

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