‘Bastos!’: Obscene word found in a now-recalled DepEd learning module

Published June 14, 2021, 3:50 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A vulgar word was found in a self-learning module (SLM) issued by a division of the Department of Education (DepEd) to its students under the distance learning program.

This was revealed by educator and “sick books crusader” Antonio Calipjo Go during the hearing of the House committee on public accounts on Monday, June 14. He explained that four parents from Pampanga “approached” him regarding the modules used by their children.

Screengrab during the hearing of the House committee on public accounts where Antonio Calipjo-Go showed the copy of a module produced by DepEd with inappropriate content.

He presented several copies of “erroneous” modules. Calipjo Go pointed out one module in particular which discussed Filipino mythical creatures including “aswang,” “duwende,” “kapre,” “maligno” and “manananggal” – among others.

Calipjo Go expressed expressed extreme disappointment over the definition of the word “aswang” which was described in the module as: “Siya rin ay isang diyos pero ang Aswang ay pinaniniwalaan na ito’y tao na kumakain ng kapwa tao, kung minsan ang mga ito ay pinapaniwalaan na may mga pakpak at sila raw ay gising kung gabi para maghanap ng m*ka*ant*t or maaswang.”

When translated to English, the vulgar word refers to sexual intercourse or engaging in sex act.

This module, Calipjo Go said, was “already seen and used” by students as they were asked to answer the learning materials. He also showed the source of the said module which, he added, proves that this – indeed – was made by a division office of DepEd.

Meanwhile, DepEd officials agreed that this “inexcusable and unacceptable.” Undersecretary Tonisito Umali thanked Calipjo Go for pointing this out and assured that DepEd would never tolerate such content.

Based on the data DepEd gathered, the said module was used by Grade 10 students for second quarter period. “Di ko po maisip na kung ano’ng excuse ang pwedeng ibigay dito … ang mali po ay mali (I cannot think of any excuse on this … what’s wrong is wrong),” he said.

As soon as this was verified by DepEd, Umali said that in February 2021, that the concerned division addressed this already. “We are doing something internally so the one responsible will be held accountable,” he added in Filipino.

Likewise, Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio confirmed that the particular module pointed out by Calipjo-Go was among those modules that were already corrected by the concerned office.

San Antonio said that an errata has been issued by the concerned division office – adding that the superintendent also issued an advisory which stressed that the content of the learning activity sheet was, indeed, “inappropriate.”

“Ako hindi rin ako masaya na may mga mali-mali pero dahil nangyayari pa rin ang mga maling ganito ay kailangan mayroon tayong proseso para maiayos (I’m also not happy that there are mistakes but because mistakes like this still happen, we need to have a process to fix them),” San Antonio said.

Last year, DepEd was also under fire when “obscene and dirty words” were found in learning materials used by its students. DepEd disowned the said learning material.

Meanwhile, San Antonio also reminded the teachers to explain to their students if there are parts of self-learning modules or learning materials that are deemed incorrect or inappropriate.