Human rights abuses during martial law taught in schools: DepEd

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2020 03:17 PM

File photo of former President Ferdinand Marcos who placed the Philippines under Martial Law officially from Sept. 21, 1972 until Jan. 17, 1981.

MANILA — Human rights abuses committed during the imposition of Martial Law in the Philippines by former President Ferdinand Marcos are being taught to students in schools, the Department of Education (DepEd) said Monday as the country marks the 48th year since the late strongman issued the declaration for military rule.

Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said human rights abuses under the Marcos regime are being taught under the K to 12 program, even as the DepEd and Commission on Higher Education have been urged by the Akbayan Youth to strengthen the teaching of martial law in schools to counter efforts of historical revisionism.

San Antonio explained that concepts and issues related to martial law are part of the most-essential learning competencies for Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan.

Discussions in martial law include "factors that contribute to the rise of martial law, including its impacts on the socio-cultural, political and economic institutions of the country," he said in an interview.

"Likewise, it tackles the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Marcos regime," San Antonio said.

"Analysis on the rise of (the 1986) People Power and eventually the removal of Ferdinand Marcos in the helm of power is also articulated."

In a statement, Akbayan Youth Chairperson Raymond John Naguit said "DepEd and CHED are legally mandated to include Martial Law human rights violations into the education curriculum,"citing the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.

Under the law, the two agencies need to ensure the teaching of Martial Law atrocities in the basic, secondary and tertiary education curricula.

Naguit said the recent passage of a House bill declaring Marcos' birthday a holiday in Ilocos Norte was a move "to distort the truth and make a hero out of a corrupt murderer."

According to reports from global human rights watchdog Amnesty International, around 100,000 people were victims of martial law, with 3,000 killed, 34,000 tortured and 70,000 arrested.

The Marcoses also amassed an estimated $5 to $10 billion, or more than P500 billion, in ill-gotten wealth, based on the World Bank-United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Stolen Asset Recovery report.

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., who was a senator before running for vice presidency in 2016 but lost to Vice President Leni Robredo, had claimed his family is a "victim" of historical revisionism, asserting that accusations against them have been unproven, despite legal proof of atrocities and ill-gotten wealth during his father's rule.

He had called for a revision of Philippine textbooks, where his father's repressive regime is retold as a grim part of Philippine history.