By: Prof. Emmanuel Nabayra
Mindanao, one of the three major island groups of the Philippines, serves as the home for the so-called “Mindanawan,” a group of people that shares collective history and ideals founded on geographic setting. However, not much is known by the Mindanawan people themselves about the place that they call home. Not much is also known about the history of our cities, barrios, and provinces.
“Our curriculum on our Social Studies, Araling Panlipunan, and History is focused only on the Philippines as a nation,” says Prof. Emmanuel S. Nabayra. Information taught to us in primary and secondary schools were focused mostly on our history as a nation. Our love for our country, our nationalism and patriotism, should be anchored on our knowledge and love for our family. “The individual citizen cannot develop love for his country,” says Prof. Nabayra, “without developing awareness and pride for his family, residence, and birth.”
Prof. Nabayra discusses the issues of our lack of awareness of our local history. He connects this awareness to our ability create rooted and historically-sound decisions as leaders of our communities. Nationalism serves as foundation in making decisions and improvements for our communities. Nationalism also serves as the “foundation for our love of our country” and should be “based and anchored on a healthy form of regionalism, provincialism, and parochialism.”
Without these foundations, we may commit the same errors of the previous leaders. For example, the two former councilors of Davao City proposed to change the names of the streets of Uyanguren and Claveria without much knowledge as to why the streets were named in the first place after the two Spanish colonizers, Don José Cruz de Oyanguren and Spanish Governor General of the Philippines Narciso Clavería. Both were previously honored for their contributions in conquering the Davao Region. Upon the arrival of first Spanish colonizers in mid-19th century, Davao Region and the Davao Gulf was previously governed by Datu Mama Bago, or Datu Bago. Datu Bago was the former datu of Davao Gulf and served as a vassal to the Sultanate of Maguindanao. The defeat of Datu Bago in the hands of Spanish colonizers made Davao Region a part of the Spanish colony.
Prof. Nabayra also discusses about the major components in Mindanao and the issue on the migration of landless people from Luzon and Visayas. With a promise of lands to sow, the issues on landlessness and oppression in Luzon and Visayas were only transferred and repeated in Mindanao.
Although we are born and raised in Mindanao, how much do we really know about our homeland? What issues were we able to overcome and what continues to be a challenge to this day? How will our knowledge and love for our home and family affect our leadership and decision-making processes?