By Ed Aurelio C. Reyes

Kamalaysayan Writers and Speakers

(July 1996)

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HE CONTROVERSY about the creation of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD) now rocking Mindanao, the second-largest island of our archipelago, is one that can best be appreciated with the framework of kamalaysayan (sense of history).

All of us who will ultimately be affected, because it is actually a national issue, and all those who would be more in timately involved because they are direct participants in the decision or are among those directly affected by its resolution, need a clear history-oriented frame of mind and attitude in approaching this complex subject matter.

Real sense of history requires a basic grasp of antecedents to the question at hand -- What had happened before? What of the past can enlighten us? What of the past can inspire us?

Real sense of history also requires a basic grasp of the present configuration of the present situation-- What is the most important problem being addressed? What are the options available? What forces and entities are ranged for or against each option and how are they to be weighed in comparison to one another?

And real sense of history also requires a deeply-felt sense of responsibility to the future generations -- How are our children and their own children and further descendants going to be affected? What, ultimately, is the best scenario that we can pass on to them?

If we are able to answer with some respectable degree of certainty all these questions as they pertain to the SPCPD, and therefore grasp the circumstances now being confronted by the decision-makers, and if we are able to see clearly exactly what the effects of the resultant decisions will be on the immediate and long-term future, we can say we are able to usefully apply the kamalaysayan framework to understand a historical process ongoing for Mindanao right now.

That will give us a clue as to how profoundly we should view our historical processes in the past. That would be sense of history that goes far beyond the momorization of dates and names.That would be a sense of history that would enlighten and inspire us as we confront our own decision-making responsibilities.

Isn't that why we study history in the first place? Surely, we don't study history to pass data-oriented history exams, do we? What do you think?

 (Kamalaysayan Media Service)



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