Amid #MaJoHa issue, John Arcilla stresses importance of history

Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 13 2022 07:12 PM

MANILA -- Without casting judgment on anyone, veteran actor John Arcilla has weighed in on the so-called "MaJoHa” firestorm on social media. 

The controversy was triggered after some teen housemates of "Pinoy Big Brother" erroneously called the Filipino martyr priests Gomburza (Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora ) as “MaJoHa” in a quiz by host Robi Domingo about Philippines facts and history last April 10. 

After the clip circulated online, the hashtag #MaJoHa trended on social media with netizens sharing Domingo’s supposed disappointment with the educational system. 

“Grabe. Napakalaking bagay ng history sa buhay ng tao. Kahit anong nasyon pinahahalagahan 'yan, “ Arcilla told ABS-CBN News Wednesday. 

“Kasi sa kasaysayan natin malalaman kung sino ka at saan ka dapat pupunta bilang tao o bilang Pilipino,“ he stressed. “Ang pagtingin sa nakaraan ay importante para sa mga aral na hindi mo na dapat pagdaanan pa." 

Acclaimed for his award-winning roles in “Heneral Luna” and the recent “On the Job: The Missing 8,” Arcilla is also known for his patriotic advocacy for culture and the arts; and espousing outreach educational programs and environment protection projects. Notably he founded the CAPABLE foundation that stands for the “care and protection of life on earth.” 

“Ang mga titser na mismo ang nagsasabi sa akin disappointed sila sa pag-downgrade ng Philippines history as a subject sa upper grade levels,“ he related. “Kaya siguro lutang ang isip ng kabataan pagdating sa kasaysayan!” 

The Department of Education (DepEd) removed Philippine history as a dedicated subject in high school in 2014, following the implementation of the K-12 program. 

The DepEd clarified, however, that Philippine history continues to be taught as a separate subject in Grades 5 and 6. In higher grades, the social studies curriculum covers various Philippine history topics combined with other subjects such Asian studies and world history. 

Reflecting on “MaJoHa” as a reflection of current affairs, Arcilla also rued the seeming blotting out of facts and lessons of Philippine history. “Ang dami kasi nagsasabi lagi move on na. Yes, tama naman pero ang pag-move on ay mas mahalaga at mas powerful kung bitbit mo ang mga aral ng pinagdaanan mo bilang tao o bilang bansa.“

“Kahit naman sa personal mong buhay binibitbit mo ang aral na nakuha mo sa masakit na pinagdaanan mo sa ibang tao. Lalo na kung sangkot pa ang buong bansa!”

For what it’s worth, Arcilla also wants to share and pass on to the young generation the lessons he learned as a student. “Pinakapaborito kong subject ng elementary ay ang Rizal. Pakiramdam ko ang Rizal subject ang naging core ng pagkatao ko at pagka-Pilipino. 'Yung selfless love at pagmamahal sa pamilya, kapatid, kababayan at bansa,“ Arcilla recalled.

“Sa Rizal ko din natutuhan 'yung pagpapahalaga sa mga bagay na pinaghirapan ng mga magulang kahit ano pa ang halaga… 'yung kwento tungkol sa barong na sinamay. At 'yung importansiya ng pagmamahal sa ibang tao kahit hindi mo kilala,” he added, also citing a particular tale about the national hero that left an indelible mark on his memory and character.

“Yung tungkol sa tsinelas niya na naanod ng tubig, pinaanod na din niya 'yung isa para kung swertehin man may makakuha ng isa makikita niya ang isa pa at maaaring magamit pa!”