Bello: Marcoses will try to revise children’s textbooks

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 12 2022 09:57 PM

Vice presidential candidate Walden Bello (L) and presumptive president Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. Composite/File
Vice presidential candidate Walden Bello (L) and presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. Composite/File

MANILA — Vice presidential candidate Walden Bello on Thursday said the Marcoses will try to revise the contents of children’s textbooks on Martial Law but will have a hard time doing it.

“Napakarami ng mga libro na nagki-criticize kay Marcos and the father. Anong gagawin sa mga librong ito? Susunugin ba? Kasi andami niyan eh. Iba-iba ever since 1986,” he said during a virtual press conference.

Bello cited the books of independent writers as well textbooks in private and Catholic schools all depicting Martial Law as a dark period in Philippine history.

“Andami-dami talagang works on Martial Law that are very negative on what happened. So anong gagawin nila rito? Anong gagawin in terms of mga textbooks? Anong gagawin sa mga textbooks na gagamitin sa history classes? Magiging propaganda machinery so that gagawin yung ginawa sa internet that the Marcos period was the golden age?,” the academic and social activist said, referring to the widespread disinformation on social media allegedly attributable to Marcos Jr.’s troll farms.

Presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has denied this accusation.

“Eh alam naman natin na this family is really capable of doing that — of erasing or revising the past. So we should expect that the Marccoses will use their money to clean up the historical record,” Bello said.

“Ang problema lang dyan ay talagang mahihirapan silang gawin yan kasi nakabantay ang marami, nakabantay ang press, nakabantay ang media sa mga pangyayaring ganito. So it will be an effort at historical revisionism but it will be very difficult to do,” he added.

In a press conference with the National Press Club in January 2020, Marcos Jr. claimed the children are being taught “lies” because of the negative portrayal of Martial Law and his family in children’s textbooks.

“Nilagay nila sa libro, ng textbook ng mga bata na ganito, na ang mga Marcos ganito ang ninakaw, ganito ang ginawa. Ngayon lumalabas sa korte, hindi totoo lahat ng sinabi ninyo dahil hindi niyo naipakita,” he said.

“[T]here was no evidence. That was always the outcome. And the reason na tumagal ng ganito ay propaganda pampulitika,” he added.

Marcos Jr., in the same press conference, declared he will be running for a national position although he refused to disclose at that time which post.

More than two years after, Marcos Jr. has declared victory in the May 2022 presidential polls after he obtained more than 31 million votes, based on data from the Comelec transparency server as of 7:17 pm of May 12.

His rise to the presidency raised concerns about historical revisionism, with a tweet about the January 2020 press conference resurfacing on Twitter Wednesday.

The appointment of his runningmate, presumptive vice president Sara Duterte-Carpio, as secretary of the Department of Education also prompted similar concerns. 

Speaking on ANC Rundown Thursday, Senator Risa Hontiveros, set to be the lone opposition senator left, debunked Marcos Jr.’s earlier statements that his family's ill-gotten wealth issue is not true.

“On point of fact, mali na walang pronouncements ang korte tungkol dito. Courts, not just domestically but especially internationally, have spoken unequivocally on the wealth that needs to be, at the very least, accounted for, and at most, at best, yung dapat ay isauli,” she said.

“Kailangan ngang ikwento yung buong kwento niyan. The historical revisionism is a concern not just now, not just in the past few months but in the past several years kasi nagkaroon po talaga ng organisadong at well-funded na campaign na isulat muli na di kumpleto at di tama yung ating kasaysayan,” she added.

Hontiveros said the new administration is not in the best position to correct “historical revisionism.”

“I think it will have to be a project of civil society with the education sector for the sake not only of those advocating this but for everyone’s sake,” citing efforts in Germany to integrate the Holocaust in their education system.

“Kaya imposible ngayon na makapaghalal sila ng mga Nazi at neo-Nazi. And they paid that price, they went through that painful process. But look where they are now moving forward. Their own democracy, imperfect also, pero a lot more mature, a lot stronger and their own political culture and civic culture is a lot less challenged than ours,” she said.

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