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May 30th
Home Sections Politics Illiteracy Fuels the Ongoing “Clash of Civilizations” in RP, Especially in Mindanao
Illiteracy Fuels the Ongoing “Clash of Civilizations” in RP, Especially in Mindanao PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Saturday, 09 January 2010 11:48


Illiteracy Fuels the Ongoing “Clash of Civilizations” in the Philippines, Especially in Mindanao


Part V of the “Clash of Civilizations” Series


Illiterate people are blind – an Afghan proverb


Y es, according to the above-quoted old Afghan adage, people who are unable to read and write are said to be blind, even if they possess 20/20 eyesight. The presence of so-many illiterate people in Afghanistan and other Third-World countries like the Philippines – even if their civilizations are as old as mankind – illustrates one of the major causes of the ongoing armed conflicts in Mindanao and other troubled spots in the world.


Too many poor people in Mindanao and other areas of the Philippines – whether they are Muslims, Christians or Lumads – are illiterate. Education, especially college instruction, seems to be the prerogative of the elite, now the modern-day equivalent of the Ilustrado families during the Spanish regime. By the way, to the uninitiated, the Lumads are the indigenous people who are neither Muslim nor Christian.


The recent “Maguindanao Massacre” proved correct what this author wrote in Part III of this series, “There are also fears that even if the Muslims in Mindanao were to be given quasi-independence or outright independence, they would also be plunged overnight in Moro wars, as the Muslims are divided into various clans -- from the Tausogs, the Maranaws, the warring clans in Maguindanao and the even the distinctly-different in lifestyle, the Badjaos. The Sultanate of Sulu cannot force all the Muslim forces in Mindanao to unite under one flag of convenience. And there are the different armies: the MILF, the MNLF, the Abu-Sayyaf bandits linked with the Al Qaeda terrorists and those maintained by regional or provincial warlords. In fact, the reason the Muslim separatists cannot win their war of independence against The Imperial Manila is that they are so fragmented into ethnic groupings and unable to unite under one military command . . .”


E ditor’s Note: To read the earlier articles of this series, please just click on these hyperlinks:


The Filipino and the Clash of Civilizations, Part I


The "Clash of Civilizations" Now Brewing in California?


Is the Philippines the Prototype of the "Clash of Civilizations?" (Part III)


Overseas Filipinos Can End the "Clash of Civilizations" in RP (Part IV)


Proposals for Permanent Peace in the Philippines and even in the Middle East and the Pakistan-Afghanistan Corridor


As I written so many times before, there can never be peace in the Philippines if there is war in Mindanao. Armed conflicts in Southern Philippines will rage for a hundred years more or even longer because the various factions represent actually different civilizations, as I have stated in Part III of this series. The same can be said for the Iraqi and the Afghan conflicts that have pestered for centuries, if not for almost two millennia (and counting).


This writer proposed to the Filipino and American policy-and-decision makers a way out of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan and in Mindanao. My proposal was contained in these articles,


The SEATO Should Be Revived to Help Pakistan Secure its A-Bombs and Combat Terrorism


The Concept of an Islamic Peacekeeping Force (As Proposed in MabuhayRadio in 2007) Is Now Being Talked About


My proposal did not discuss merely the creation of an Islamic Peacekeeping Force but also talked about the need of doing a three-pronged approach: fielding also Engineering Brigades and Medical Corps. Forming the three proposed Integrated Task Forces would mean doing Adult Education for the recruits for the Peacekeeping Force and establishing crash courses in engineering, architecture, medicine, nursing and related fields along with more training in medical and engineering schools, military academies and/or the proposed Southern Naval Academy in Sorsogon Province for the officers’ corps and highly-skilled personnel like helicopter-and-fixed-wing-aircraft pilots, navigators, aircraft mechanics, etceteras, etc. Then the troika of peacekeepers, engineers and medical professionals would do the same training in the countries where they will be fielded with the hope that in less-than a decade, they would be replaced by the indigenous people, as fully trained.


The United States taxpayers are spending more-than $3.6-billion (spelled with a B) per month in Afghanistan alone. The other countries from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are spending hundreds of millions more in Euro currency per month in their Afghan operations. It may cheaper and more constructive in the longer run if the United States and its allies will opt for the solutions proposed in this presentation. The fielding of such three Task Forces may not only work for permanent peace in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan but also in Mindanao and other Islamic parts of countries like Thailand and even Mainland China.


Seeking the Views of Filipino-Muslim and Other Mindanawon Leaders


S ultan Rudy Dianalan of Marawi City, who is an Overseas-Filipino worker (OFW) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, commented on the proposal of fielding the troika of Mindanawon peacekeepers, engineers and medical corps: “There will be literally a flood of recruits from Muslim Mindanao if the three Task Forces were to be organized and funded by multilateral agencies, the United Nations and developed countries.”


(Editor’s Note: Sultan Rudy is running for the Philippine Senate in the May 10, 2010, elections. Readers may just click his banner ad found in all the pages of this website.)


This writer has likewise sought the opinion of Ms. Amina Rasul, who writes also for this website. She is the Lead Convenor of the Philippine Council for Islam and Democracy (PCID) and Trustee, Magbassa Kita Foundation, Inc. She finds this set of proposals quite visionary but she did not dismiss it as impossible to do.


This editor will ask both Ms. Amina Rasul and Sultan Rudy Dianalan to write their formal commentary on this topic of fielding All-Muslim peacekeepers, engineers and medical professionals to the troubled areas in the Islamic World, beginning of course in Mindanao. We will ask also the other candidates for the Philippine Senate who come from Mindanao like Atty. Gwendolyn Pimentel for their commentaries about this set of proposals.


Perhaps all the current Filipino presidential candidates can be pressured by well-meaning voters to comment on these proposals and include the suggestions in their respective vision and mission of their candidacy. Readers may like to read again this recent article, Is There a Visionary Among the 2010 Filipino Presidential Candidates?


Perhaps when the Filipino presidential candidates get to talk about the problems in Mindanao during their coming presidential debates, the “Clash of Civilizations” can be one of the topics, if not part of the solution.


(To be continued . . .) # # #


E ditor’s Note: To read the earlier articles of this series, please just click on these hyperlinks:


The Filipino and the Clash of Civilizations, Part I


The "Clash of Civilizations" Now Brewing in California?


Is the Philippines the Prototype of the "Clash of Civilizations?" (Part III)


Overseas Filipinos Can End the "Clash of Civilizations" in RP (Part IV)


Illiteracy Fuels the Ongoing “Clash of Civilizations” in RP, Especially in Mindanao (Part V)



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Last Updated on Saturday, 09 January 2010 13:01
Comments (4)
1 Saturday, 09 January 2010 20:19
Mr. Roman Guerrero of Davao and Cotabato has some ideas.

But I maintain Bobby that our Muslim brothers and sisters in the Philippines are not in the same category as those in Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, and Pakistan. Or those belonging to Al Qaeda or Jemaah Isilamiyah.

But I wonder what the more-credible political groupings are thinking.

Anyway, it does not help that the Comolect (COMELEC people) are convinced that someone who is reputed to be a killer is more important than a Muslim who is a true OFW, and whom I refer to as Saladin, as a prospective legislator in the Senate. Unbelievable.

Cesar Torres
2 Saturday, 09 January 2010 20:38
Dear Bobby,

You are correct, what can you expect from a Governor who has an education of a 4th grader, and a Mayor who has mentality of a first grader?

Mindanao is hopeless, and nothing will change during our lifetime.

Apo Ernie
Philadelphia, PA
3 Thursday, 14 January 2010 15:50
Cesar and Bobby,

The idea is to address the feeling of alienation and loss of sense of belonging Muslims in Mindanao feel which drives them to undertake struggle -- both violent and peaceful -- to secede from the Philippine republic. Reinforced with historical facts that they never were a conquered people in their own homeland -- Mindanao -- they have re-coursed their struggle as painted with religion. This is the reason for their adoption of the Moro identity that necessarily resurrects the hatred and animosity their faith ancestors had against King Philip II in ancient Iberian peninsula.

Their rejection of our present country's name PILIPINAS (and Filipino indentity) is an articulation of said alienation or loss of sense of belonging. A corresponding shift of our Filipino identity that matches their shift from Muslim into Moro -- which is incorrect because they aren't Moors but Malays like the rests of Filipinos -- should have been undertaken. Hence, we have this initiative for a shift of the present rootword of the name PILIPINAS now PILIPI into PILI INA, Ina referring to Mary or Maryam (in the Quran), the Mother of Jesus (Prophet Eisa to Islam).

Roman Guerrero of Davao and Cotabato, Philippines
4 Tuesday, 02 March 2010 14:38
Education: Part of long-term solutions for peace in Mindanao

MANILA, -- The Philippine government is confident that the people in Mindanao would eventually live together in peace, working as caring neighbors for their mutual economic prosperity and social progress through education.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has pushed for the integration of the Madrasah into the country’s basic education system as part of the government's peace efforts.

The President said, "One of the keys to the future of Mindanao, especially among the youth, is their education.”

On the part of the Department of Education (DepEd), the agency is stepping up its efforts to provide quality education to Muslim public school children through the Madrasah Program.

Launched in 2004, the program is part of DepEd’s Muslim Basic Education Roadmap, which is in response to the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) and the GRP-MNLF (Government of the Republic of the Philippines-Moro National Liberation Front) Peace Agreement.

Education Undersecretary for Muslim Affairs Manaros Boransing said, “This is the department’s modest yet significant contribution to peace-building efforts by government and non-government agencies.” Boransing said that the program aims to positively contribute to the ongoing peace process and to make the public education system more inclusive. It also seeks to improve the quality of life among Muslim school children through education.

“This is to prove the sincerity of the department in providing free, quality education to all public schoolchildren, regardless of ethnicity or religious affiliation," he said.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus stated, “We recognize the critical role of education in peace-building. The school is where minds are formed and values are enhanced."

The department also earmarked some P20 million as financial assistance to private madaris (Muslim schools) to encourage the adoption of the DepEd prescribed Madrasah curriculum.

Boransing disclosed that a total of 36 private madaris with 3,834 Muslim pupils are the initial beneficiaries of the financial assistance of P5,000 per student per school year which started in school year 2008-2009.

The funding was taken from the DepEd budget in 2008.

In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), 26 madaris from Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan and Tawi-Tawi have qualified after a thorough and rigorous screening and validation, along with two schools in Davao City and eight in Cotabato City and General Santos City.

Lapus said the financial assistance for each recipient Madrasah shall be for specific purpose wherein 80 percent will go to pay the salaries of teachers handling secular subjects and 20 percent will be for the improvement of classroom and other school facilities.

This is the first time in the history of Philippine education that private madaris are mainstreamed as a component of National System of Basic Education following a single curriculum for basic education, common to both public schools and private Madaris.

“We purposely designed the Madrasah Education to be able to respond to the needs and realities of our Muslim learners,” Boransing explained.

There are two types of curriculum prescribed in Madrasah Education --the Enriched Curriculum for Public Elementary Schools and the Standard Curriculum for Private Madaris. The former has been implemented in all DepEd regions nationwide for Muslim students and is known as the Arabic Language and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE) Program.

The Standard Curriculum for Private Madaris, approved in 2004, aims to put in place an educational system that is appropriate for the Muslim population.

The Standard Curriculum combines basic secular subjects with religious subjects such as Qur’an, Aqeedah (Islamic creed) and Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), and Seerah (biography of Mohammad) and Hadith (works of Mohammad). Through this curriculum, the Filipino national identity is promoted even as the Muslim’s cultural heritage is preserved.

“With such a curriculum, the Philippines will have a Madrasah education system where students from private madaris can transfer to public schools and vice versa. It will likewise give them equal chance in employment opportunities.” Boransing said.

Lapus likewise said that Madrasah education is a way in combating radicals.

“Madrasah education is a long-term solution to bring peace to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). There cannot be long-term peace in the region if we fail to address education issues,” he stressed.

The DepEd also implements an alternative learning and livelihood training program among Muslim out-of-school youth and adults.

Lapus said that he approved recently a proposal that would give these Muslim out-of-school youth and adults a chance at education and livelihood through the DepEd’s Alternative Learning System-cum-Madrasah Program.

He said the program is expected to contribute to the peace process as there can be a serious peace and order problem if no social development interventions are made available in predominantly Muslim urban areas.

“We need to open wider latitude for learning and skills training among our Muslim brothers to give them a chance to improve their lives," he said.

He added that "giving our Muslim youth a chance at education and livelihood training will significantly reduce the possibility of conflict."

Studies showed that the highest rate of school dropouts are in Muslim areas. With massive migration in urban centers, Muslim migrants bring along their families, including out-of-school children.

The program components include: basic literacy, accreditation and equivalency, technical and vocational skills training, entrepreneurship development, and microfinance. Arabic Language and Islamic Values (ALIVE) will be incorporated in every program component.

The basic literacy, accreditation and equivalency as well as the Revised Basic Education Curriculum (RBEC) shall be administered by the DepEd's Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS).

Lapus explained that the entrepreneurship development component includes sourcing of loan financing on microfinance of small- and medium-scale enterprises.

DepEd is also currently sourcing out possible financial support from member-countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).

According to Boransing, "the department's efforts at alternative learning are open to all learners as our education initiatives are geared towards achieving our Education for All goals."

Earlier, Lapus cited the support being given by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in DepEd projects.

With USAID support, the DepEd has “intensified government efforts to improve access to quality education and provide livelihood opportunities for children and the youth in the southern Philippines, particularly in areas most affected by conflict and poverty like the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM),” according to Lapus.

“There is an urgent need for a stronger public-private sector alliance to meet the education needs of Mindanao, especially in the ARMM,” said Lapus, stressing “a framework to pool various initiatives into one program assures efficiency and effectiveness.”

The Philippines will host the Special Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace and Development on March 16 to 18, 2010, which will harness the great potential of interfaith dialogue in bringing lasting peace and sustainable development.

President Arroyo espoused this during the opening ceremonies of the 15th NAM Summit at the Maritim Congress Center in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt in July last year where she invited member-countries of the NAM to actively participate in the conference that will mark the first time that the Non-Aligned Movement will harness the great potentials of interfaith dialogue and cooperation to advance circular concerns for durable, lasting peace and sustainable development.

The meeting, which will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), will give representatives of the 118 NAM member-countries the opportunity to focus on the role interfaith dialogue and cooperation play in averting and ending conflicts that bring death and destruction around the world.

The President has pointed out that issues such as the financial crisis, climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and other pressing global concerns can be effectively addressed through international solidarity and dialogue among peoples, civilizations and religions.

The Philippines is the leading proponent on interfaith dialogue and promotes the same to bring peace and development in Mindanao.

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