Board Member Rafael Ortega Jr. is urging the education department to expedite the integration of the country’s territorial claim in the West Philippine Sea into the social studies curriculum to build up awareness among young people on its importance.

He made the call last Friday during PN Conversations, a platform hosted by Palawan News in partnership with Palawan State University (Palawan SU) for discussing various topics relevant to the local community, news events, and public interest issues.

“Ito yong offshoot noong kapabayaan natin noong unang panahon na hindi natin in-educate yong ating mga estudyante tungkol sa isyu ng West Philippine Sea,” he said, noting that the Philippines is still catching up in understanding what it truly is.

He shared that he had previously passed a resolution urging former Education Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte to include it in the history taught to students under the social studies curriculum.

However, following her resignation, he plans to file the resolution again on Tuesday, July 10, this time targeting incoming DepEd Secretary Sonny Angara.

“Para sana matugunan na niya na maisama sa curriculum,” he said.

He also said that he passed a resolution urging school administrators and higher education institutions, including Palawan State University, Western Philippines University, Holy Trinity University, Fulbright College, and others, to organize forums on the West Philippine Sea to deepen students’ understanding.

He expressed gratitude for PN Conversations for addressing the knowledge gap among the youth. He hopes that in the next academic year, all learning institutions will also engage in similar activities.

“Gagawa rin tayo ng isang resolution—kahilingan din sa Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) na hindi lamang ito sa Palawan, kundi sa buong Pilipinas. Bakit? Kasi hindi lang naman Palawan ang may problema nito—problema ng buong Pilipinas ito,” Ortega stated.

“Ang nakakalungkot lang dito, para bang tayo lang sa Palawan ang concerned dito. Sabagay totoo rin naman kung sakali na magkaroon ng hindi natin ginugusto na armed conflict,” he added.

Meanwhile, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-List Rep. Margarita Nograles shares a similar sentiment to Ortega’s stance on the issue.

She recommended on Sunday the inclusion of the WPS’ history and territorial claims, including the arbitral ruling, in the national history curriculum. Nograles stressed the critical importance of educating Filipino youth about Southeast Asian geopolitics and the rule of international law.

Nograles stressed the importance of integrating these topics into the national history curriculum, aiming to enhance students’ understanding of Southeast Asian geopolitics and stress the relevance of upholding international rule of law in diplomatic relations.

“Educating our youth about the significant issues surrounding our territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is crucial for fostering a well-informed citizenry and cultivating a sense of national pride and responsibility,” she explained.

Nograles pointed out that Angara can help young Filipinos in understanding the legal and historical background of the Philippines’ territorial claims if it will be finally included in the curriculum.