CHR lauds DepEd move to add red-tagging, EJK as rights violations in draft curriculum

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
CHR lauds DepEd move to add red-tagging, EJK as rights violations in draft curriculum
In this file photo taken on July 20, 2017, male residents are rounded up for verification after police officers conducted a large scale anti-drug raid at a slum community in Manila.
AFP / Noel Celis

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights has expressed its support for the Department of Education’s move to add lessons on human rights violations in its revised basic education curriculum where “red-tagging, trolling, and extrajudicial killings” will be taught.

“The Commission on Human Rights welcomes the recent move by the Department of Education to recognize ‘red-tagging, trolling, and extrajudicial killings (EJKs)’ as examples of serious human rights violations in its draft curriculum for Araling Panlipunan in basic education,” the human rights body said.

DepEd’s revised draft K-10 curriculum, which it unveiled to the public in April, added lessons on rights violations in Araling Panlipunan in Grade 10, which will be taught under the topic of “contemporary issues.”

Students are expected to learn how to "analyze the value of protecting and caring for human rights" in response to social issues, according to the learning competencies in the curriculum for Araling Panlipunan.

RELATED: Draft DepEd curriculum recognizes red-tagging as rights violation  

The revamped Araling Panlipunan curriculum also added lessons on specific rights violations that took place during the Marcos dictatorship and the presidents that followed his rule.

Analysis of human rights situation

In a statement, the CHR emphasized the need to end the dangerous practice of red-tagging, which it said only leads to the censorship of individuals and groups critical of the government. 

“More alarmingly, however, is that this practice has resulted in numerous human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, torture, and even arbitrary executions,” the CHR said.

Teaching students about red-tagging, trolling and extrajudicial killings as human rights violations is a “significant step toward promoting a culture of respect for human rights and the rule of law among young Filipinos,” the human rights body added. 

The CHR also cited DepEd’s existing policy of forwarding a “rights-based education” (RBE) in basic education—a framework that emphasizes the need to integrate human rights concepts, values, and principles across all subjects and levels of education. 

“This inclusion of red-tagging, trolling, and EJKs as human rights violations shows a concrete example of the application of the RBE Framework in addressing human rights issues,” the CHR said.

The proposed new lessons could also offer students the opportunity to “critically analyze the complex and multi-faceted nature of human rights violations, and to explore ways to address them through peaceful and lawful means,” the CHR said.

Similarly, rights group Karapatan lauded DepEd’s move to include Marcos-era rights violations in the draft curriculum, saying that it is “high time” to “mainstream the discourse on the realities of human rights violations in the basic education curriculum.”

DepEd’s proposed changes—which Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay said were “long overdue”—are in line with the Republic Act 10353 or Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act, which was enacted in 2013.

In a message to Philstar.com, Palabay said that the law explicitly requires the government to “ensure that the teaching of Martial Law atrocities, the lives and sacrifices of (human rights violation victims) in our history are included in the basic, secondary and tertiary education curricula.”

Palabay said that the group hopes that DepEd’s move “is not merely a doubletalk tactic, especially when the head of the agency involved is engaged red-tagging and is accused of other forms of human rights violations.”

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