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Inclusion of Marcos burial ruling in textbooks opposed

A students’ group on Wednesday objected to the inclusion in history textbooks for public schools of the Supreme Court decision allowing the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, saying that the Department of Education (DepEd) should teach martial law and dictatorship with bias toward human rights victims.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) said teachers could not be neutral in teaching lessons about the Marcos regime, “knowing that it is teeming with human rights violations, killings, enforced disappearances and tortures.”

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Last week, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the DepEd would include the court ruling in its review of the textbooks for a fair account of martial law history. A mention of the decision has to be made in textbooks as part of the historical fact, she said.

“But it will not in any way influence an objective assessment of the Marcos regime,”  Briones said, adding that the textbooks would not impose on students the idea that Marcos was a hero.

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Narratives of dark age

The NUSP on Wednesday said such moves would only bolster attempts to revise the narratives of the dark age of Philippine history.

“The DepEd, as an institution that must promote the Filipino people’s historical struggle, should be at the forefront of instilling among the youth that Marcos is and  will never be a hero,” NUSP spokesperson Kevin Castro said in a statement.

Any reference to the decision on Marcos’ burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani is “in itself, a submission that this state is considering Marcos a hero, the ‘positive’ aspects of his regime overshadowing the much greater atrocities caused by martial law,” Castro said.

The group also cautioned the DepEd against “celebrating” the oppression of the Marcos regime.

“If you are to teach martial law and dictatorship, teach it with bias toward the victims of martial law. Do not give the ruling elites, the Marcoses, a chance to propagate erroneous ideas in the minds of the youth,” Castro said.

Historical revisionism

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Quezon City Rep. Jorge “Bolet” Banal Jr. on Wednesday expressed concern about a possible revision of history, citing information about Marcos spreading on social media.

During his speech at the launch of the Araw ng Pag(b)asa campaign at Old Balara Elementary School, he asked the crowd, composed mainly of Grade 3 students, about the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

“Do you know who this man is?” Banal asked as he pointed to Aquino’s image on the tarpaulin.

Smiling, he added, “I was told you only know Kris Aquino, but this is her father.”

Banal told a brief story about the senator’s life in jail during martial law, saying that books were Aquino’s main companions in solitary confinement.

The late senator is the icon and inspiration behind the campaign, which not only celebrates his birth anniversary, but also encourages reading.

Reading program

Republic Act No. 10556, or the Araw ng Pag(b)asa Act, was signed by then President Benigno Aquino III in 2013 to turn the campaign into a nationwide reading program.

Banal, who initiated the advocacy when he was councilor in 2008, said, “To our teachers, I hope we do not only teach children our history, but also introduce them to our heroes who are our sources of hope.”

During the event, National Book Store and Kaya Natin Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership signed an agreement to build libraries and provide school supplies to 12 areas across the country. Old Balara Elementary School will be the first to receive a library in Quezon City.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who attended the event, highlighted the importance of libraries.

“To parents, we should all read to our children, so they will love books, too,” said Robredo, whose husband, the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, was a Kaya Natin cofounder./rga

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TAGS: Department of Education, Ferdinand Marcos, historical revisionism, Leonor Briones, Libingan ng mga Bayani, Marcos burial, Marcos regime, Martial law, National Union of Students of the Philippines, NUSP, Philippine history
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