The Department of Education (DepEd) refuted claims of historical distortion on Monday, addressing concerns raised regarding a letter from its Bureau of Curriculum Development (BCD). This letter had suggested altering the term “Diktadurang Marcos” (Marcos dictatorship) to simply “Diktadura” (Dictatorship) within the revised Araling Panlipunan or social studies curriculum for Grade 6 students.
In an interview, DepEd Director Jocelyn Andaya clarified that the agency’s intention was solely to align the curriculum’s content to emphasize historical events and themes rather than focusing predominantly on individual political figures.
Andaya elaborated that under the section titled “Hamon sa Demokrasya” (Challenges to Democracy), various topics would be covered. These subjects include the declaration of martial law, the implementation of dictatorship, the erosion of democratic institutions, the legislature’s independence, economic decline, human rights violations, ill-gotten wealth, resistance against dictatorship, actions opposing dictatorship, and the assassination of Ninoy Aquino.
She emphasized, “This is not a revisionist approach because inevitably, in the discussion of these topics, it naturally leads to an understanding of those responsible for implementing them. There is no revisionism occurring or planned,” Andaya stated.
Responding to queries about whether teachers could still use the term “Marcos dictatorship” in their lessons, Andaya affirmed, “Certainly. Any discussion regarding the dictatorship in the Philippines will invariably involve an examination of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s administration.”
Additionally, she denied any political pressure originating from higher-ranking officials to alter the terminology, asserting that this was part of the academic discourse within their office. “It is purely an academic discussion. There is no external pressure whatsoever,” Andaya asserted.
This statement from the DepEd official came in response to concerns raised by teachers’ groups and civil society organizations regarding the directive to modify the terminology in the revised Matatag curriculum, set to be pilot-tested in the upcoming school year.
In the letter dated September 6, the BCD informed Education Undersecretary Gina Gonong that the nomenclature adjustment was being made in compliance with the directive from the curriculum and teaching management committee.