MANILA -- An alleged learning module from the Department of Education (DepEd) that discouraged participation in protests is for younger students, Malacañang said Monday, following criticism from the Commission on Human Rights.
DepEd has supervision over elementary and high school students, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"Siguro ang sinasabi lang ng DepEd e iyong mga elementary at high school, e siguro 'wag munang mag-attend ng rallies... Hindi naman po ito para sa matatanda nang estudyante. Ito po ay para sa mga bata," he told reporters.
(Perhaps what the DepEd is saying is that elementary and high school students should maybe not join rallies yet. This is not for the older students. This is for the children.)
Joining protests "is already in the bill of rights," he said.
"Ang pinag-iingatan lang natin iyong mga wala pang sapat na pag-iisip, iyong mga menor de edad, at mga bata," Roque added.
(What we are protecting is those who have no enough understanding yet, the minors, the children.)
The supposed Grade 12 Media and Information Literacy module, asked the guide question: “If given the chance, will you join this rally? Why or why not?”
The correct answer, also written in the module, said: “No, because the government has really doing their best for all the Filipino people and their constituents.”
Photos of the module were uploaded last Wednesday on Facebook by a netizen, who noted the grammar error in the answer and questioned how “exercising democratic right[s]” were being taught to students.
In a statement, CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said developing critical thinking among children, especially on national issues, is just as important as teaching them to respect the law.
"Love for one’s country is not limited to mere obedience, but can also be manifested through collectively tackling issues of our communities and the country under the guidance of rights entitled to us and protected by the Constitution, including the people’s right to freedom of speech, of expression, the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and petition the government for redress of grievances,” De Guia said.
The DepEd has yet to react to the matter.