We seek the return of 'Philippine History' in Junior High School and Senior High School.

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To : Virgilio S. Almario, Chairman, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA); Dr. Rene R. Escalante, Chairman, National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP); Leonor Magtolis-Briones, Secretary, Department of Education; Hon. Romulo T. Roman (Chair for Comm. on Basic Education and Culture), Philippine House of RepresentativesSenator Sherwin T. Gatchalian (Chair for Comm. on Education, Arts and Culture), Philippine Senate

From: Concerned Araling Panlipunan teachers, concerned students, concerned citizens of the Philippines, and "High School Philippine History Movement" (https://www.facebook.com/ReturnPhilHisHS) *Formerly 'Ibalik ang Philippine History sa High School Movement'



On April 14, 2014, the Department of Education (DepEd) of the Philippines promulgated DepEd Order 20, s. 2014 – 'Additional Information and Corrigendum to DepEd Order No. 31, s. 2012 (Policy Guidelines on the Implementation of Grades 1 to 10 of the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) Effective School Year 2012-2013)'. Under said order, the dedicated course on Philippine History was REMOVED from the core curriculum of instruction of Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies) in the junior high school (and even senior high school) of the Philippines. 

As a result, Philippine History is no longer taught as a dedicated course of critical thinking and analysis in both junior high school and senior high school. Philippine History, as a dedicated course, is currently solely studied in the elementary level (through grades 5 and 6) and the collegiate level (through the college course Readings in Philippine History). Its removal from the secondary education level obstructs the cohesion of study on Philippine History in basic education. 


In our belief of developmental learning, meaningful learning should be appropriate according to the stages of human development. According to Erik Erikson's ‘stages of psychosocial development’, each stage of human progression has their respective level of maturity and concern. In this particular case, a 5-11 year old (middle childhood) has a different form of thinking schema from a 12-19 years old (adolescence).

With that, we firmly believe that a cohesive follow-up on the advancement on the study of Philippine History should be considered for each tranche in basic education: for elementary (middle childhood), junior high school (mid-adolescence), and senior high school (late adolescence), as a form of bridging towards their higher critical form of study on ‘Readings of Philippine History’ in college.

Scaffolding an interrelated study on Philippine History as one grows from a childhood to early adulthood is an appropriate means of learning Philippine History.


Currently, the perennial counter-reaction we hear from authorities regarding the issue are the following: (a) the curriculum of the Araling Panlipunan is already SEAMLESS, (b) the current Araling Panlipunan curriculum is already DECONGESTED, (c) EXPERTS have already carefully prepared the curriculum for Araling Panlipunan, and (d) the Araling Panlipunan curriculum for secondary education has already Philippine History INTEGRATED into it.  

Years since the implementation of DepEd Order 20, 2014, worrisome signs have already cropped up despite the aforementioned reasons.

Although the design may be seamless, the outcomes seen from students are left much to be desired.

As an example, many high school and even college students have questioned why Epi Quizon, the actor who played Apolinario Mabini, was constantly ‘sitting’ in the historical film, “Heneral Luna.” Unfortunately, these students are unaware that Mabini was crippled or a ‘ lumpo.’

This was a perennial comment from high school and even college students when the film was first released. This was a year after the implementation of DepEd Order 20, 2014. Up to this day when students watch Heneral Luna through purchased audio-visual formats, there will be young people who will ask that question.

Why? Because despite the supposed seamless curriculum of AP, Philippine History has been relegated as a minor sub-topic in high school Araling Panlipunan Curriculum. In many cases despite its so-called ‘integration’, much of Philippine History is NEGLECTED to prioritize main topics in the high school AP curriculum. In addition to this, the limited weekly periods given to AP (3 one-hour meetings a week compared to other subjects) also limits the topics altogether. Time constraints also limits the time for other main topics in AP secondary education. As a result, integration of Philippine History is unworkable due to the SHEER LIMITED TIME.

In other words, the SEAMLESS curriculum of AP with INTEGRATED Philippine History in secondary education in order to DECONGEST the curriculum has BEEN RENDERED USELESS by the IMPRACTICALITY on the ground.

We need to ask whether the EXPERTS tasked to design the curriculum ever took into consideration the (a) developmental ages of the students, (b) realities of on-the-ground teaching/learning, and (c) consultation with feedbacking from actual teachers or practitioners on the ground. As it is, the impression given is that the curriculum designed by these experts are OUT OF TOUCH with the actual practice of secondary education.

With the current susceptibility of adolescence to HISTORICAL DISTORTIONS through Facebook and other social media,we cannot help but ask: how did the outright removal of Philippine History from the current AP curriculum contributed to this dilemma?

As a result of these flaws and questions, we desire the return of Philippine History as a DEDICATED course in secondary education, for both junior high school and senior high school. 


Although we appreciate the inclusion of Contemporary Issues (grade 10) in junior high school, we must protest the removal of Philippine History as a dedicated course from the secondary tranche of basic education. Benchmarking with other schools in Asia and the world (such as Korea, Japan, and Malaysia), it is proven that NATIONAL HISTORY is a RELEVANT component in ALL tranches of basic and tertiary education (elementary, secondary, and collegiate levels.) Although 'K to 12' is a relevant reform that we acknowledge as an important cog in the development of our nation, we must seek the return of Philippine History in the secondary level of Philippine basic education as a means of (a) cultural heritage, (b) self-identification with the nation, and (b) conduits of critical thinking. 

Early in 2014, Araling Panlipunan teachers from both public and private schools have respectfully protested this issue. Unfortunately, our voices fell on deaf ears. 

With that, we humbly ask the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to REQUEST the DepEd to REVIEW its policy of removing Philippine History as a dedicated subject in the secondary level of basic education and RETURN it as a reinvigorated discipline. 

The NHCP, with its mandate of developing 'educational materials in various media, implement historical educational activities for the popularization of Philippine history, and disseminate information regarding Philippine historical events, dates, places and personages' (as stipulated in section 5, letter b of Republic Act No. 10086) must act on this policy mistake of DepEd as it IMPEDES the popularization of Philippine History and proper dissemination regarding Philippine historical events, dates, places and personages.

The NCCA, with its mandate to 'conserve and promote the nation’s historical and cultural heritage' (as stipulated in section 12, letter b of Republic Act No.7356) must act on this policy mistake of DepEd as it CONTRADICTS proper conservation and promotion of the nation's historical and cultural heritage.


We also request the honorable Secretary of the Department of Education to PERSONALLY REVIEW this DepEd Policy. Based on the aforementioned arguments, it can be said that the removal of Philippine History in secondary education is unpopular and is divergent from the aims of K-to-12.

May we also request the honorable senator who chairs the Committee on Education, Arts, and Culture to EXAMINE this DepEd Order whether it achieves its constitutional aim to inculcate "patriotism and nationalism, foster love of humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country..." as prescribed Article 14, Section 3, subsection 2 of our constitution. This is a good opportunity to review an aspect of Philippine historical education in aid of legislation


As a recommendation, the following can be a suggested matrix for Araling Panlipunan in the secondary tranche of basic education: 

- Grade 5 : "Basic Philippine History 1" [ALREADY IMPLEMENTED but needs further decongestion]
- Grade 6 : "Basic Philippine History 2" [ALREADY IMPLEMENTED but needs further decongestion. Transfer Post-war topics to Contemporary Philippine History]

- Grade 7 : "Asian History" [ALREADY IMPLEMENTED]
- Grade 8 : "World History" [ALREADY IMPLEMENTED]
- Grade 9 : "Economics" [ALREADY IMPLEMENTED]
Grade 10 : "Intermediate Philippine History: Contemporary Philippine History and Contemporary Issues" (Post-war Philippine History and Contemporary Issues)

- Grade 11 : "Philippine Culture, Society, and Politics" - one sem [ALREADY IMPLEMENTED. Not a history course.]
Grade 12 : "Special Topics in Philippine History" - one sem (this will be a core research and survey subject that explores the special topics in Philippine History e.g. Diplomatic History through the 'West Philippine Sea Dispute')

The aforementioned matrix are suggestions only. There are other ways where Philippine History can be included in both junior high school and senior high school as dedicated subjects.

With that, we are strongly seeking the return of at least only ONE (1) dedicated Philippine History subject for each tranche of high school: one for JHS and one for SHS.


As a matter of reinforcement, we also ask the NHCP and the NCCA to hold a national dialogue on the question of having Philippine History in secondary education. This national dialogue can include the following -

I. Academics and historians from select Philippine Universities, such as:

- History Department, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, UP-Diliman
- History Department, School of Science Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University
- History Department, College of Liberal Arts, De La Salle University
- History Department, Faculty of Arts and Letters, University of Santo Tomas
- History Department, College of Social Sciences and Development, Polytechnic University of the Philippines
- History Department, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Asia and the Pacific
- Department of Anthropology, Sociology and History, School of Arts and Sciences, University of San Carlos
- History-Political Science Department, College of Arts and Sciences, Silliman University,
- History Department, College of Arts and Social Sciences, MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology

II. Academics and educational practitioners from select Philippine Universities, such as:
- Education Department, School of Social Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University
- Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education, De La Salle University
- Department of Teacher Education, College of Education, University of Santo Tomas
- College of Education, Polytechnic University of the Philippines
- Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, College of Teacher Development, Philippine Normal University
- College of Education, National Teacher’s College
- School of Education and Human Development, University of Asia and the Pacific
- Department of Teacher Education, College of Education, Arts and Sciences, National University
- Institute of Education, Far Eastern University
- College of Education and Liberal Arts, Adamson University
- College of Education, Silliman University
- School of Education, University of San Carlos
- College of Education, MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology

III. Academics, historians, and practitioners from historical and AP teacher’s organizations, such as:
- Philippine Historical Association (PHA)
- Philippine National Historical Society (PNHS)
- Bagong Kasaysayan (BAKAS)
- Kalipunan ng mga Nagkakaisang Guro ng Araling Panlipunan (KALINAGAN)
- Organization of Social Studies Teachers in the Philippines, Inc. (OSSTP)

 IV. Araling Panlipunan Subject Area Coordinators from select schools, such as:
- Private Sectarian Schools
- Private Chinese Schools
- Science High Schools
- Public Schools

We urge for a national dialogue from various stakeholders as organized by your agencies. Through this venue, (a) position papers from each organization/institute, (b) discourse on the relevance of Philippine History, and (c) collective public statements can be made in order to advance a general consensus from various patrons of Philippine History education.

This general consensus should be forwarded to the DepEd.  


As such, we, concerned Araling Panlipunan teachers, students, and citizens of the Philippines, respectfully ask the NHCP and the NCCA to humbly but firmly urge the DepEd to review its policy of removing Philippine History as a dedicated discipline in the secondary level and return this highly valuable form of study as soon as possible. 

If possible as well, a national dialogue on the dedicated study of Philippine History in secondary education should be organized as well.

We also ask the honorable Representative and Senator that chairs the Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture to review, through a legislative committee investigation, the rationale and consequences of removing Philippine History as a dedicated course from secondary education. 

We also seek the possibility of crafting legislation requiring a dedicated Philippine History course for at least one or two years for each developmental academic tranche (elementary, junior high school, senior high school, and college) as encouraged by the Philippine Constitution (article 14, Section 3, subsection 2)

Thank you very much. 


[August 30, 2020 Revision. Originally Published August, 2018]