A Philippine legislator has filed a bill in Congress to make the reading of the Bible mandatory in the country’s public schools.
House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr., a pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church and Ministries, noted that Filipinos seem not to have truly appreciated the “relevance, importance and power” of the Bible.
“If only Biblical discipline, principles and standards are taught and inculcated in the minds of our children, there would not be so many problems of leadership, governance and peace and order,” said the legislator.
In filing the bill, Abante said it is best to strengthen the “moral, spiritual, ethical, intellectual and social character and personal discipline” of young people while they are in school.
Under House Bill 2069, the subjects English and Filipino, in public elementary and high school, shall include the reading, discussion and examination of the Bible.
Abante said the Bible should be read and studied because religion is allowed to be taught in public elementary and high schools where literary works such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are also being read and studied.
In the case of Muslim students, English and Filipino subjects should also include the reading, discussion and examination of the Quran, the bill provides. Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon, former head of the Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate of the bishops’ conference, supported the proposal. “This is very good. I hope this gets approved. It is good news for us to read the Good News of God,” he said.
Father Conegundo Garganta, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth, also welcomed the bill describing it as “great news and a relevant act.”