Teachers' party-list voices concern over 'whitewashing' of martial law era in modules

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2022 01:27 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2022 03:41 PM

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MANILA – A party-list group on Thursday sounded the alarm over a school module that reportedly refers to the martial law era during the administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. as the "Period of the New Society".

ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro said school modules—regardless of whether or not they are used for the Araling Panlipunan subject—should contain facts.

“When I researched and when I asked some senior high school teachers here, and even the head teacher in AP (Araling Panlipunan), she confirmed that this module is based on (Humanities and Social Sciences strand), part of the literature (subject),” Castro said.

“Kahit na ito ay literature, dapat factual pa rin ang lalabas dito. At sa pagtuturo ng teachers, kung hindi siya magiging very critical at not aware of during the martial law times to, talagang mami-misinform niya yung ating mga estudyante during that time at hindi na mababanggit halimbawa yung different atrocities that happened during those times.”

“Although kahit nga you refer to the poems, newspaper that time, dapat makikita pa rin doon yung talagang nangyari during the martial law,” Castro said.

(Even if this is literature, it should still be factual. And teachers need to be critical of their material--if they won't, our students will be misinformed and not learn about the atrocities during those times. Even if you refer to poems, or newspapers during that time, they must still learn about what happened during martial law.)

“Even on economic aspects, makikita din during that time, kahit na sinasabing New Society, so dapat maipaliwanag nung teacher sa New Society na ang characteristic nito ay repression, martial rule, whatever, economic downturn, etc.”

(Even on economic aspects, teachers must explain that the martial law was an era of depression and economic downturn.)

Castro said their party-list has filed a bill pushing for the restoration of the Philippine History subject in the high school levels in order to fight back against misinformation.

She said they also regularly post fact-checks on their Facebook page and hold educational fora to teach educators about atrocities committed during martial law.

Moving forward, she said her group plans to review modules being used by high school students across the country.

“We’re planning to have a book review and module review of the different modules used in senior high school and also in the junior high school. At pinaplano nga natin na mag-file din ng resolution para makita rin natin ano yung mga ginawang distortion, historical revisionism, hindi lang pala sa subject ng Araling Panlipunan, even dito sa literature,” Castro said.

(We’re planning to have a book review and module review of the different modules used in senior high school and also in the junior high school. And we want to file a resolution to see the distortion, historical revisionism, not just in Araling Panlipunan, but even in literature.)

The official added that they also plan to write a module on the facts of what happened during martial law.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in September denied allegations that his family has been trying to revise history to clean their image following his father's decades-long dictatorship that was marred with rampant corruption and human rights abuses.

“There’s no reason to revise history,” Marcos said in a taped interview aired on ALLTV channel on his 65th birthday.

“We recognize naman the problems that happened, the abuses that occurred like in any war. All of these things are some things that are already part of history,” he said.

Last week, the Department of Education denied claims that it plans to rebrand the teaching of martial law as "Bagong Lipunan" in the basic education curriculum.

--ANC, 20 October 2022