Leaving out Marcos-led Martial Law in textbooks a mockery of history — teachers' network

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Leaving out Marcos-led Martial Law in textbooks a mockery of history â teachers' network
Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., the ousted dictator's son and namesake, offers a wreath at a monument to his father.

MANILA, Philippines — A network of teachers said on Tuesday that to carry out any omission of the Martial Law era, one of the darkest periods of the Philippines, would be to completely mock the country's history.

Global human rights organization Amnesty International, which has over eight million members and supporters around the world, has reported that the Marcos dictatorship was marked by wanton human rights violations, where 34,000 were tortured and 3,240 killed. 

Educators’ Forum for Development in a statement published by think tank Ibon Foundation called for members of the education sector to revise their textbooks and teaching material—by way of including Martial Law in their curricula and providing students with other historically accurate material. 

"To say that schools have been teaching children lies with the discussion of Martial Law mocks the collective experience of civil, political, economic and social rights violations against the Filipino people during the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship," the teachers' coalition said. 

They also pointed to the Education Act of 1982 as something "many students and parents today continue to suffer from" owing to what they said was its "commercialization of education." Over the years, many in the education sector have highlighted a provision in the act giving school owners the authority to raise tuition fees as the reason behind this. 

"Since the Marcos regime began implementing neoliberal economics, the agriculture and industrial sectors of Philippine society have headed downhill," they said. 

READ: On 47th martial law anniversary, VP Robredo tells Filipinos: Fight revisionism

Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday echoed this sentiment, saying that the newfound rise to power of the Marcos family was an indication that the dark history that was the Marcos regime needed to be emphasized further in the level of education. 

“Kung may kailangang baguhin, kailangan siguraduhin na ma-inculcate sa bawat mamamayang Pilipino kung ano iyong kasamaan na dinala sa atin ng diktaturya,” Robredo said. "[Ngayon kasi] pinapayagan ulit natin iyong mga Marcos na mamayagpag... gustong sabihin, hindi tayo natuto. Kaya kung mayroong kailangang baguhin [sa textbooks], iyon yon."

These come days after defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr., the namesake of the ousted dictator, asserted that history has unfairly antagonized his family by publishing politically motivated propaganda in textbooks. The son of graft convict Imelda Marcos even proposed textbooks and educational material be revised

RELATED: Money Trail: The Marcos Billions

A report by the UP School of Economics published in May of 1986 said, “The foreign debt incurred by the old regime is one of the biggest obstacles to Philippine economic recovery." Indeed, the country was left with a $26 billion debt in the years after Marcos' ouster from office, the effects of which still continue to be felt today.

Political ambitions 

A youth movement also slammed Marcos for his pronouncement, saying his motive for political capital was clear. 

“Marcos is obviously looking after his own skin for his future political ambitions,” said Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) spokesperson John Lazaro in a statement sent to Philstar.com.

“Marcos’ sins against the people and the youth are unforgivable."

The Marcos family has not acknowledged any of their crimes. This, despite a signed republic act explicitly acknowledging the mass human rights violations that occurred under the Marcos regime, as well as seven counts of graft held against Imelda. The Official Gazette, too, has released numerous publications about the Marcos regime, which mention even the Pope's rebuke of the regime which the family has also not acknowledged to this day. 

Today, failed vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos, the son of the late strongman, is still appealing to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to review his poll fraud case against sitting Vice President Leni Robredo. On Monday, Robredo said that the former should not have run in the election at all if he would not be able to accept his defeat. 

"We stand by the proven accounts of thousands of human rights victims during martial rule, and oppose any attempt to muddle the truth," EFD said, pointing to "Filipino historians, economists, academics" who have discussed the late strongman's atrocities and economic plunder.  

"A critical student knows that being a government official is not an entitlement for abuse but a responsibility to serve the best interests of the people," they added. 

NewsLab: 31 Years of Amnesia: Stories on the Myths that Made Marcos



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