By Hanah Tabios
The University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman will soon offer its new general education (GE) subject course which will tackle the language, literature, and culture under the Martial Law in the country.
The three-unit subject, Philippine Studies (PS) 21–Wika, Kultura, at Panitikan sa Ilalim ng Batas Militar sa Pilipinas, will be offered by the university’s Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas under the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) starting next semester.
Students from different disciplines have an option to take the subject which will be available every semester, including midyear.
The additional GE subject was approved last September 9 by the university council, a policy-making body composed of the faculty members of the academic institution.
“The course is meant for students to decide whether ML under GMA and Duterte was/is still necessary. We expect that crucial issues about not only ML but governance in general be discussed in class,” Gonzalo Campoamor II, one of the proponents of the subject, told the Manila Bulletin.
Based on the 36-page proposal, Martial Law was first imposed during the Spanish occupation in the Philippines and was later proclaimed during former strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ regime, as well during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the now president Rodrigo Duterte. The current administration declared Martial Law in Mindanao due to alleged reports and incidents of rebellion and terrorism in the moro region. He also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus through Proclamation No. 216 released in 2017.
“Ang kamay-na-bakal” ng diktadurang Marcos marahil ang pinakanakakintal sa kolektibong alaala ng bayan sa kasalukuyan, pangunahin dahil sa nararamdaman pa rin sa kasalukuyan ang mga epektong pang-ekonomiya, pampolitika, panlipunan, at pangkultura ng tinaguriang Bagong Lipunan. Dahil dito, nilalayon ng kurso na mapalalim ang pag-unawa ng kabataan sa batas militar, sa pasismo, at sa awtaritaryanismo; at mapatalas ang kanilang pagsusuri sa mga kalagayang nagluluwal ng marahas na anyo ng pamumuno,” the proposal read.
“Kumpara sa iba pang kursong pang-GE na inihain ng Departamento, nakatuon ang PS 21 sa paggamit ng mga likhang pampanitikan at pagsusuri ng mga elementong pangwika upang bigyang-kabulunan ang pag-unawa sa espesipikong yugto ng kasaysayan ng lipunang Pilipino,” it added.
On Monday, the Palace also welcomed the teaching of the subject in the country’s premier state university.
Various student leaders in the universities in Taft, Manila also gathered at the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila ahead of the 47th commemoration of the event. They said they were hoping that the initiative to offer the subject would also be available in other schools and universities in the future.
The group, One Taft Against Fascism & Tyranny (One TAFT), were brought together by the resolve to struggle against the return of dictatorship in the Philippines.
These include the schools De La Salle University (DLSU), De La Salle – College of St. Benilde (DLSU-CSB), St. Scholastica’s College, UP Manila, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU), and Mapua University.
Despite coming from rival political organizations in their respective universities, they are set to conduct a unified series of mobilizations on September 20, a day before the anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the country.