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Claim: Vice President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte issued directives to revise information on the Martial Law period and remove anti-Marcos content from school textbooks.
Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a YouTube video posted by an account known for posting erroneous or dubious information regarding government officials online. As of writing, the video has 83,776 views and 4,9900 likes.
The video’s narrator says: “Tila itatama na di umano ni Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio ang kasaysayan ng kasinungalingan patungkol sa Martial Law. Revision ng libro isusulong di umano ng mga tao para naman maitama ang kasaysayan at hindi maloko ang taumbayan lalong-lalo na ang mga kabataan.”
(It seems that Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio will now correct the history of lies regarding Martial Law. The revision of books will reportedly be promoted by the people so that history can be corrected and citizens will not be fooled, especially the youth.)
The narrator also enumerated several supposed directives from the education secretary, such as the removal of anti-Marcos content from school textbooks, removal of subversive documents from campuses, military training for able-bodied students, possible revocation of scholarships for activists, and assignment of intelligence officers in schools to detect recruiters for the leftist movement.
The video was posted on August 23, two days after the death anniversary of former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., among the staunchest opposition figures during the dictatorship of Ferdinand E. Marcos.
The bottom line: Neither DepEd nor Duterte has issued any directive nor announced plans for the revision of Martial Law history and the removal of anti-Marcos content from school textbooks. There are also no orders stopping student activism in campuses.
Martial Law history: Duterte had previously denied the alleged rebranding of Martial Law history in school curricula in favor of the late dictator. Last year, a learning module that described the Martial Law years as a “period of the New Society” went viral. Responding to criticism, the Vice President said: “DepEd is not in the business of erasing these facts and replacing them with something else.” (READ: Sara Duterte: No Martial Law rebranding at DepEd)
The education department had also said that students under the K to 12 program are being informed about human rights abuses under the Marcos regime, with concepts related to Martial Law tackled in Araling Panlipunan (social studies).
There is no DepEd memo or directive urging the removal from school libraries of learning materials deemed subversive. Such a memo was issued in 2021 by the Commission on Higher Education, the agency governing universities and colleges, and not DepEd which is responsible for the basic education system.
Stance on student activism: The Vice President has a history of red-tagging groups critical of the government, and as education secretary, she has made it clear that under her term, she would “go after activities, organizations, or circumstances” she deems harmful to students. However, she has never stated intentions to stop student activism in school campuses.
Rappler has already published several fact-checks on DepEd under Duterte’s leadership:
- FACT CHECK: Revised K-10 curriculum is part of K to 12 program
- FACT CHECK: DepEd memo compromises teachers’ safety, privacy – ACT
- FACT CHECK: Sara Duterte didn’t say K-12 was abolished in DepEd’s 2023 report
– Kyle Marcelino/Rappler.com
Kyle Marcelino is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.
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