The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) expresses its condolences to the family and colleagues of former Chairperson Samuel Kong Tan, who passed away last 6 January 2022.
Born in Siasi, Sulu on 30 December 1933, Dr. Tan served as Chairperson and Executive Director of the National Historical Institute (NHI, forerunner of the NHCP) from 1997 to 1999. Upon his assumption to office, he enriched the curatorial content of the Museum of Philippine History (opened in 1995), located at the ground floor of the NHI Building on Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila. It evolved into the current NHCP Museo ng Kasaysayang Pampulitika ng Pilipinas in Casa Real Shrine, Malolos, Bulacan. He was also the first Tausug-Sama with Chinese-Filipino descent to head the agency.
An advocate of a multicultural Philippine history and the appraisal of the marginalized in the national history discourse (i.e., indigenous peoples, Muslim Filipinos), he supported the massive local history conferences and publications conducted throughout the country by the Philippine National Historical Society and the Philippine Historical Association in 1998. Moreover, by virtue of his office, he served as Commissioner of the National Centennial Commission and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Dr. Tan is remembered fondly by employees during his tenure for immersing himself in the work of each division and for ensuring that each project the Institute undertook were properly implemented.
Long before he was appointed to the Institute, Dr. Tan served as faculty and later Chairperson of the University of the Philippines Department of History. A noted scholar of Philippine Muslim History, he was also a prolific writer, having authored several books including the acclaimed A History of the Philippines (1987/1997); Decolonization and Filipino Muslim Identity (1989); The Critical Decade, 1921-1930 (1993); and The Filipino-American War, 1899-1913 (2002).