MANILA, Philippines – The recent decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to allow the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) will be reflected in the new batch of textbooks for public schools.
In a statement on Monday, November 14, the Department of Education (DepEd) said it would include the SC decision in its “thorough review of textbooks and objective account of history.” It cited its “commitment to be fair in its assessment of all administrations.”
DepEd’s communications’ team clarified it further for Rappler: the decision on a hero’s burial for Marcos is not only being considered, it will already be part of the fresh batch of textbooks for public schools. The DepEd replaces approved textbooks every 5 years.
“The Supreme Court [decision] is about burying him at the Libingan, and the decision of DepEd is a review of accounts of textbooks so they do not contradict each other,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in the statement.
The textbooks, however, will not dictate on school children whether Marcos is a hero. It will encourage them instead to make their own conclusions based on objective information, the DepEd assured.
“It’s not like the book will tell you he’s a hero, or he’s not a hero. What we’re trying to develop is critical thinking. The student, the learner, decides for himself. Let’s give them facts, the positive things vis-à-vis the human rights [issues], so that the child, the learner, can make a judgement for himself or herself,” Briones said.
Last March, under the Aquino administration, the education department vowed to deepen the discussion on Martial Law and its impact on Filipinos today, after one book was heavily criticized for its “misleading claim” that all of Marcos’ programs “were done to uplift the lives of Filipinos.”
In June, during her first press conference as incoming education secretary, Briones was asked if she would heed these calls to review the country’s history books.
She said any review should cover the administration of all Philippine presidents, and not just that of Marcos: “If ever there would be a review of textbooks, not only on martial law period. We should review again the coverage of all the administrations because not all of the administrations have also been examined fairly.”
The Supreme Court decision to allow President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to give Marcos a hero’s burial was hailed by the late president’s loyalists, but was met by a series of protests from various sectors, including the victims of human rights abuses during Martial Law. – Rappler.com
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