April 1987 Vol. VIII, No. 3

10 July 2022 Dansalan Quarterly

This journal revolves around the intricacies of ethnicity in the Philippines as explored in the sociological accounts of Mamitua Saber, Eliseo Mercado, and Julian Abuso. Saber’s address in the National Conference of the Anthropological Association of the Philippines entitled “The Social Scientist’s Concern for the Study of Philippine Ethnicity” talks about the agencies that were established to administer the affairs of ethnic, tribal, or cultural communities. These agencies have been assisting the national government since the past American administration in the country, with each tasked to formulate policies for the government of diverse tribal groups. Saber also speaks on theme of the conference, “Unity in Diversity,” which is a direct connection to the establishment of the autonomous government in Muslim Mindanao. The writer articulates how such establishment can forge inter-ethnic unity for its success. Next, in “Ethnicity and National Unity,” Mercado discusses the elements related to ethnicity, in particular the features arising from social, economic, and political factors. He describes the Philippines as a plural society–one filled with different communities and ethnic groups, each with their own religion, culture, ideas, and the like. Mercado also shares his insights on the socio-economic basis of ethnic consciousness and how the sociopolitical and economic relations of the southern Philippines have become increasingly ethnic in character. He also provides an insightful take on the myth of national unity–where he believes that our current socioeconomic and political systems have made fragmentation and ethnic polarizations inevitable. Mercado points out that such an issue continues to plague us as a nation. In the last article, Abuso explores the gaps and links between ethnicity and education. Notably, the writer emphasizes the importance of ethnic-pride curriculum materials not only in informing people, but also in developing the tolerance for cultural differences. In sum, ethnicity is an integral element in what makes the Philippines what it is today–it is imperative then that people navigate these intricacies to achieve genuine unity and development.

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