A Sisyphean Trick

A GENERATION which ignores history has no past and no future. — Science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein

CALOOCAN CITY — In Greek mythology, Sisyphus or Sisyphos (/ˈsɪsɪfəs/; Ancient Greek: Σίσυφος Sísyphos) was the founder and king of Ephyra (now known as Corinth).

Zeus punished him for cheating death twice by forcing him to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down every time it neared the top, repeating this action for eternity.

Through the classical influence on modern culture, tasks that are both laborious and futile are therefore described as Sisyphean.

With this in view, could the advocacy of neophyte Senator Robinhood ‘Robin’ Padilla be only a Sisyphean endeavor that would end up only as a trick?

Padilla has filed a bill mandating the inclusion of Philippine History in the country’s high school curriculum in the hope that its teaching will aid our youth in understanding how the society we live in came to be through the passage of time. In doing so, the actor-turned-politician rationalized that in order “to lead (our) nation into the future, (it) would require an understanding of (our) country’s historical roots and cultural heritage ideally in all levels of formal education.”

The first-time legislator even lamented that Philippine History had been removed from the high school curriculum in 2014 through Department of Education (DepEd) Order 20 even as he noted that the K-12 basic 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 pointed out.

“It is truly unfortunate for our youth, whom we dub as the hope and future of our nation, to be stripped of the opportunity to wade through the books of our invaluable past,” he added.

Under Padilla’s proposed measure, Philippine History subject shall be designed to inculcate a sense of patriotism and will include our country’s history, culture and identity, particularly that of the Bangsamoro and Indigenous Peoples.

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 – and understand the Filipinos’ roots grounded on facts and strong historical tradition, patriotism and identity as a nation. These are well said points that need to be recognized and realized.

But the only misgiving we have in this is the doubt whether we believe what is being taught in our schools today about our history is truly about what is Filipino.

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