MANILA, Philippines – Neil Gaiman had two words to say on the red-tagging of Adarna House: “Not good.”
The writer – who is also known for his children’s books like Coraline, Blueberry Girl, and M is for Magic – said so in his retweet of a link to a May 12 Rappler story reporting that Adarna House had been accused of “radicalizing” children against the government by National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo.
Monteagudo’s accusation came after Adarna House announced on May 11 that they were taking pre-orders at 20% for their #NeverAgain bundle, which includes five illustrated children’s books that talk about the Martial Law era.
The Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP) also spoke out against the red-tagging, saying in a May 13 statement that “nothing can be father from the truth,” referring to Monteagudo’s post.
“As publishers, and as parents, teachers, and readers ourselves, we want our children to grow up to become proud Filipinos capable of critical thinking, as it has been said that the mark of an educated mind is to be able to entertain a thought and not necessarily accept it,” they said.
“We want our children to know that they can be curious about the world, their environment about ideas, and most of all, ask questions. We nurture them with books for them to have minds of their own,” they continued.
They also said that they want children to know their right to free speech and learn to argue with logic and hard facts.
Adarna’s sale came two days after the presidential elections that saw late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. emerging as the presumptive winner.
The five titles on sale are meant to teach children about of the rule of Bongbong’s late father, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Marcos ruled the Philippines under Martial Law from 1972 to 1981, and held power until he was deposed in 1986, following the historic EDSA People Power Revolution. The Marcos regime is considered to be one of the darkest periods in Philippine history, with rampant human rights abuses, widespread corruption, and the oppression of critics. – Rappler.com