Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

[Newspoint] Department of Miseducation and Indoctrination

Vergel O. Santos

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[Newspoint] Department of Miseducation and Indoctrination

David Castuciano

After allowing the Marcoses to not only escape unpunished for their crimes but return to power, do we yet wonder why they continue to take us for fools and play us?  

The regime of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is now targeting our young, and it’s doing that with a heightened sense of impunity, apparently in a great hurry to entrench itself securely for posterity.

And in Sara Duterte, Marcos has just the perfect crony in charge. She is not only his vice president and successor in waiting, but also his secretary of education, just the perfect agency through which to carry out the plot. A better-educated secretary of education would have neither the conscience nor the stomach for it.

The plot, after all, is a particularly insidious and nauseous one. It comprises three schemes: it introduces a course in media literacy in the curriculum, reinstitutes military training, and makes changes in how the Marcos dictatorship should be taught as a historical and social study. This constitutes wholesale academic corruption! Even if only one of those schemes succeeded, enough ruin would be caused future generations.

The press should have no reason to object to a curricular study and critical discussion of itself, or even of whether it is able to provide what the public deserves to see, hear, and read, which, concededly, is a fair subject for inquiry. But when it is the government that initiates, not merely suggests, the undertaking, the criminal intent becomes unmistakable – interference with press freedom. 

Press freedom happens to be the freedom ranked highest by the Constitution, indeed one expressly exempt from abridgment by law. And in that precise arrangement are laid down the basic terms of the democratic duel between power, which ought to be restrained, on one side and, on the other, freedoms and rights, which ought to be expanded. If only another government were involved, and if only that government stopped at suggesting, a mere lapse in propriety might be conceded. As happens in this case, the principals are the brazen-faced ruling descendants of two dynasties known for their draconian ways.

If the press deserves at all to be investigated, it is for its timidity, if not for outright consorting with the government. Indeed, it should be sanctioned for insulting the media literacy of the public for whom it is supposed to perform watchdog duty. The press became that way in the chilling presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, Sara’s father, who proved himself the most faithful disciple of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. 

Duterte did not have to declare martial law to kill press freedom, as did Marcos. To achieve the same end, he only had to close the premier broadcast network, by taking back its franchise, threaten the owners of the most widely read daily newspaper with business sanctions, and slap the founder and CEO of this very news site with multiple suits for improbable violations of libel and tax and securities laws. 

In fact, to this day, in the succeeding presidency of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the chill persists. Himself haunted by shadows from his father’s dictatorship of torture, murder, and plunder, Marcos can’t be more grateful to Duterte for setting everything up for him. One ready weapon Duterte has left him is the Anti-Terrorism Act, a whimsical law that cannot even define the crime it punishes. It works as a Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of critics. 

Against Duterte’s iron-hand treatment of the press, the temptation is to minimize Marcos’s attempt to insinuate his own idea of how the press should do its job. It is actually no different from or less harmful in the longer term than ROTC, the training in soldiery just restored to the college curriculum after being scrapped 20 years ago, amid a furor over a trainee’s death.  

ROTC has always been promoted as a way of instilling patriotism. I don’t know that it can be made to work that way in a situation where police and soldiers, whose ranks are plagued by corruption, are rewarded with far better pay than teachers and other public servants and where generals newly retired and pensioned off comfortably for life are recycled into well-paying, powerful positions in the civilian bureaucracy. If any lesson were to be learned here, it would be opportunism, not patriotism. 

But, for both crudeness of manner and notoriety of purpose, nothing beats the new approach to teaching Diktadurang Marcos as signaled, initially, by the dropping of the dictator’s name from the course title. Obviously, it is all in keeping with his heirs’ obsessive efforts to have him memorialized heroically – his burial at the heroes’ cemetery, under Duterte’s sponsorship, was just a first effort. Of course, such memorialization is only possible by distorting and falsifying history, which they actually have been doing online, through mercenary trolls, and already in schools, by having credentialed teachers teach from doctored materials. 

The name change from Diktadurang Marcos to plain Diktadura is only the latest outrage. It downgrades the course to a mere sub-study in political science, one centered around that particular form of governance. As only properly intended, Diktadurang  Marcos is no mere sub-study in anything; it is a major study in itself, in fact the one that offers the most useful and relevant lessons to the already confused youth of this nation. Necessarily, the course should be eponymous, for it is about the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his dictatorship, not about any other dictator and dictatorship.

After allowing the Marcoses to not only escape unpunished for their crimes but return to power, do we yet wonder why they continue to take us for fools and play us?  

Anyway, we are tested yet again. At stake this time is the future of our sons and daughters and, not implausibly, generations after them. We fail them now and they’ll all be going to school not to be educated but to be indoctrinated – brainwashed – and that will be our ultimate default and their ultimate doom. – Rappler.com

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  1. ET

    Thanks again to Writer Vergel O. Santos for another enlightening and inspiring article. It did also make me angry but my feeling of inspiration is of greater intensity than my feeling of anger. First, it angered me because I realize with greater clarity due to Mr. Santos’s explanations – how the Marcos Jr. Administration has transformed the Department of Education (DepEd) to the Department of Miseducation and Indoctrination (DMI). How? This is done by [repeating the elements of Mr. Santos but adding my own ideas]: 1) creating a course on media literacy in the curriculum but “secretly” centered on Government Media as the only source of truth; 2) the reinstitution of military training with a deceptive emphasis on “patriotism” (which is subtly conveyed as loyalty to the Marcos-Duterte Political Dynasty) amid a surrounding of military opportunism; 3) historical revisionism by changing “Diktaduryang Marcos” to “Diktadurya.” Second and lastly, and more importantly, it also inspired me when Mr. Santos concluded: “We fail them now and they’ll all be going to school not to be educated but to be indoctrinated – brainwashed – and that will be our ultimate default and their ultimate doom.” We should not fail!

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