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Revisiting Philippine Muslim History through the Eyes of Muslim Scholars

Kamaruddin Bin Alawi Mohammad

Last August 13, 2012 history students, teachers and professors from different schools in Metro Manila gathered at the National Historical Commission of the Philippines Multi-Purpose Hall, Manila, to be a part of an initiative that highlights Philippine Muslim history as Filipino-Muslim scholars see it. This momentous program was entitled Discoursing Philippine Muslim History: Implication on Historiography and Nation-Building. Focus of discussion reflects on the following areas of concern basic information about Philippine Muslim history such as its historiographic approaches and the Moro problem; realignment of existing historical data; exploration on areas that dictates historical chasm; reassessment of secondary sources from both non-Muslim and Muslim authors; contestation against bias sources of historical misconceptions; and among others. The program started with traditional Muslim dance, the so-called Pangalay. It was performed by Mrs. Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa, a Tausug dance enthusiast, along with her group. They presented a choreographed form of said traditional dance of the Tausug. On the highlight of the event, there were three prominent professors from the University of the Philippines-Diliman who delivered their respective paper that speaks of the very essence of said gathering. They were Prof. Julkipli M. Wadi, current Dean of UP-Institute of Islamic Studies; Dr. Abraham P. Sakili, professor of Humanities and Muslim Art History at the College of Arts and Letters and current Commissioner of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines; and Atty. Mehol Sadain, lecturer on Islamic law and Jurisprudence at the UP-Institute of Islamic Studies and current Secretary of the National Commission for Muslim Filipino (The former Office on Muslim Affairs). Said program was spearheaded by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in coordination with the UP-Institute of Islamic Studies. Organizer from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines was headed by Ms. Armi Evangel Nuval Pea, a Senior Researcher. Ms. Pea is a postgraduate alumnus of the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She graduated last April, 2008 with a degree of Master of Arts in Islamic Studies. Her Master thesis is entitled The Entrepreneurial Success of Selected Maranao Padagang in Greenhills. Moreover, said program is just an introduction to the launching of a more extensive initiative that would revive, foreground and propagate Philippine Muslim history in the near future. Accordingly, said initiative is geared towards greater understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in the Philippines. Relatively speaking, Dr. Sakili said, The foregrounding and propagation of information about Muslim history and culture would help promote peace and inter-cultural understanding, especially between the Muslims and their Christian co-citizens.