It is my privilege as president of the Ateneo de Davao, but also as president of the CEAP, to welcome you to this double launch:
The first launch is that of the Mindanao-Sulu Historical Timeline. This is an out-of-the-box pedagogical tool – a huge tarpaulin – intended as a contribution to correcting Philippine History and the way it is taught. It highlights the importance of events and historical personalities from Mindanao and Sulu heretofore neglected by the Manila-centric or conqueror-centric receptions of Philippine history. It is a project of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines made possible by the generous support and funding of the World Bank, the leadership of the Jesuit anthropologist, Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ, the management of Ms. Pauline Bautista, and the knowledge of hundreds who contributed to the participative research that made this project possible. Ms. Mary Ann Cruz of CEAP will tell us more about this project later.
The second launch is that of a product of Ateneo de Davao scholarship done in the same spirit of improving Philippine history and curing it from its general ignorance of Muslim History in the Philippines. The name of this book is: Mindanao Muslim History: Documentary Sources from the Advent of Islam to the 1800s, compiled and edited by Mr. John Harvey Gamas, Dr. Mansoor Limba, Dr. Anderson Villa, Mr. Janor Balo, Ms. Maria Janua Cunanan, Dr. Heidi Gloria and Mr. Ramon Beleno III – all of the social science cluster of the College of Arts and Sciences of the ADDU.
The volume introduces and comments on primary sources: on Islam and the Rise of the Sultanates in Mindanao, on the Spanish Colonial Intrusion in Mindanao, and on the Decline of the Sultanates in Mindanao. It promises to be a rich source of historical insight and reflection into Philippine History in general, but especially during this important juncture of our national history today, as we seek to appreciate the deep religious and cultural roots of Islam in Mindanao-Sulu, and therefore in the Philippines, and to appreciate the historical injustices visited on the Mindanao Muslims by the Filipino Government and Filipinos over-identified with a proselytizing brand of missionary Christianity that was too ready to look down on Filipino Muslims who stood faithful to Islam as second class Filipinos, if not second class human beings. It hopes therefore to contribute to greater understanding of the Filipino Muslim, to promote reconciliation, and advance the national peace process which, consistent with the Philippine Constitution, undertakes to carve out a genuinely autonomous region for the Bangsamoro in the Philippines.
Br. Karl Gaspar, CSSR, Dean of the St. Alphonsus Theological and Mission Intsitute, will deliver an assessment of the book.
We are deeply honored by the presence this evening of members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and all its member commissioners, including our own Datu Mussolini Lidasan of the ADDU. We are also honored by the presence of His Excellency Abp. Fernando Capalla and Abp. Antonio Ledesma of the Bishops’-Ulama Conference, the members and supporters of the ADDU Al Qalam Institute for Muslim Identities and Interreligious Dialogue in Southeast Asia, the Salaam Movement, the Salaam Youth, the represntatives of the Indonesian Consulate in Davao and of all of our friends from within and beyond the ADDU community.
As we also hope that this book will be a valuable source for the education of Filipinos, we are honored by representatives of the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education.
Once again, welcome to all. As we join our Muslim brothers and sister in the observance of the Holy Month of Ramadan and their Iftar this day, we pray for God’s blessings and peace on all.