Amid the furor over the clandestine burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos, one government department is quietly reviewing history textbooks in the country to see how the martial law period is being taught in schools.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones reiterated Friday the education department's commitment to human rights even as it conducts a review of history textbooks.
She said the decision to review history books was made even before the Supreme Court junked petitions to stop the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
"If we do a review of the Marcos administration, we should not only concentrate on the happenings in Luzon because even these accounts are not complete and we should recognize it. Those who suffered and those who were displaced are not only the organized groups. Things happened also in the Visayas and in Mindanao because you have students there, you have peasants, you have workers and these are not covered," he said.
"…I said even the present stories are very exclusive and identified particular organized groups, primarily in Luzon. But we have to remember that an entire country underwent for 18 years the experience of Martial Law."
DepEd says K-12 to educate youth on martial law
Briones stressed the DepEd's commitment to teach students human rights and nationalism.
"The framework is human rights and we want to teach our learners. If they have an appreciation of human rights, events will be seen through that lens. If you have an appreciation of nationalism, not just of one island but of an entire country and an entire people, then the learner, especially starting at Grade 6, will perhaps [have] a better lens than we could ever have," she said.
Historian Manuel Quezon III, formerly of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, earlier said that during the Marcos era, about 70,000 people were detained for being enemies of the state, and that 398 disappeared between 1965 and 1986.
He added that between 1976 and 1978, about 34,000 people were tortured emotionally, physically and sexually.
Quezon said the Philippine economy also took a hit during the Marcos era, with the national government debt ballooning from P2.4 billion in 1965 to P192.2 billion by 1985.
He said with the national government debt standing at P395.51 billion at the end of 1986, 58.63 percent of the country's gross domestic product had to be set aside for debt servicing.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government has recovered P170.44 billion in ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.