MANILA - Minority lawmakers at the House of Representatives questioned on Wednesday the Department of Education memo changing the term “Diktadurang Marcos” to “Diktadura” in the Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan curriculum of the newly launched Matatag curriculum.
Kabataan Party List Representative Raoul Manuel said there appears to be a “systemic attempt” to make people forget the atrocities and human rights violations committed during the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
"Hindi ba ito magiging ambag sa state-sponsored disinformation? Kasi factual naman and internationally recognized ang fact na diktador si Ferdinand Marcos Sr.,” Manuel said during Wednesday’s House plenary debates on the proposed 2024 budget of the Department of Education.
“Wala namang diktadura kung walang diktador. So sino yung tinutukoy na diktadura? Mainam talagang mapangalanan yun,” he added.
Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman, meanwhile, urged the DepEd to “call a spade a spade”. He asked whether the memo is a scheme to revise history and conceal Marcos Sr. as a dictator.
DepEd’s budget sponsor, Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora, denied such effort.
“Why then does the Department of Education, in its Matatag Curriculum, instruct students to call the Marcos dictatorship only as diktatura, dropping the name Marcos. Is this not a scheme to misinform or a historical revisionism to conceal Marcos as a dictator?” Lagman asked.
"The Department of Education, in its effort to change the historical theme, is not to revise the history, but it is to frame a portion of the Araling Panlipunan Curriculum, which is to focus on historical themes and concepts and not its presidential term,” Zamora replied.
“It is important to call a spade a spade. During that black era, it has been known locally, domestically and internationally as Marcos dictatorship, is it not?” Lagman asked further.
“History would tell us that that is correct,” Zamora answered.
Lagman said the memo violates Republic Act 10368, which mandates the teaching of martial law atrocities in basic, secondary and tertiary education in the country, and urged the DepEd to revise its memo. But Zamora insisted that the core messages on martial law and human rights were articulated in the Matatag Curriculum.
“The Matatag curriculum, which is only an administrative fiat, violates the mandate of this statute. We hope that the Department of Education can revise that Matatag curriculum with respect to atrocities and sacrifices of the martial law and call a spade a spade,” Lagman said.
“The K-10 curriculum likewise contains competencies related to human rights, particularly under learning strand 5, understanding self and society. For instance, Grades 5 and 6 of Araling Panlipunan highlight the dynamism of Philippine history, where indepth and comprehensive discussion of martial law is emphasized,” Zamora replied.
Lagman also tagged as “unnecessary” the confidential funds sought by the Department of Education. Zamora defended the said budget, saying the agency needs it to gather data and information to ensure a safe and enabling learning environment.
“In the formulation of education policies, the inputs should be based on academic, scientific, empirical studies. In pursuit of these objectives, confidential funds are not necessary… No stretch of the imagination will make the use of confidential funds by the Department of education be germane to its mandate under the law,” Lagman said.
“The department is mandated to provide accessible, equitable, and quality basic education, which includes provision for a safe and enabling learning environment. Because education and national security are inevitable intertwined, thus the need for gathering of data and information and hence the need for confidential funds,” Zamora replied.
Lagman also asked whether DepEd Secretary, Vice President Sara Duterte would welcome the reallocation of confidential funds to school site acquisitions. Duterte submits to the discretion of Congress, according to Zamora.
The House of Representatives terminated on Wednesday the plenary debates on the proposed 2024 budget of the DepEd.