By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senators on Wednesday asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to correct the supposed “sanitization” in school textbooks of human rights violations and other atrocities committed during the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
The issue was raised during the Senate Subcommittee on Finance’s deliberation on the proposed 2019 budget of the DepEd Wednesday, two days before the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law under the Marcos rule in the Phippines on September 21.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros asked DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones on the status of the agency’s review of the textbooks which are either silent about or have downplayed the human rights violation during the Marcos regime.
She showed two books supposedly being used in public schools in Bulacan and Valenzuela City, which she said, should be pulled out.
Hontiveros also reminded DepEd about the implementation of the mandatory teaching of Martial Law atrocities in basic and secondary education under the Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013.
Sen. Bam Aquino, who presided the budget hearing, urged Briones to provide teachers with learning materials that were not one-sided.
“Teachers should be provided with books that have a wider perspective on history. Hindi ‘yong one-sided perspective lang (Not those that have a one-sided perspective),” Aquino.
Briones said the DepEd was already conducting review workshops on the learning materials. She said they were set to issue the”corrections” by November this year.
The DepEd official, however, noted that the books were not yet pulled out from school circulation as she said that not all contents should be replaced.
She noted that some teachers were still using old book despite the delivery of new books for K-to-12 students since 2012.
“It is our responsibility to monitor the use of these books and correct misinformation on learning materials,” Briones said.
Aside from the Martial Law lessons, senators also raised racist and sexist contents in school texbooks.
Briones, who said she was already informed about these, said the erroneous textbooks were usually used in private schools. She assured the lawmakers that her agency with take action to correct the errors.