Manila, Philippines – Teacher organizations have expressed their strong disapproval of the Department of Education (DepEd) for what they perceive as an attempt to rewrite history by downplaying the image of the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr. as a dictator in the revised basic education curriculum.
In separate statements over the weekend, the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND) and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) criticized DepEd’s decision to change “Diktadurang Marcos” to simply “Diktadura” in the Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan curriculum.
A memorandum dated September 6 from the Bureau of Curriculum Development (BCD) within DepEd explained that this change in terminology was made to comply with the order of the Curriculum and Teaching Management Committee. The BCD also stated that the revision followed an extensive review process involving experts, stakeholders, and the public.
CONTEND argued that this revision appears to be “a clear strategy of the current administration to rehabilitate the dark history of the Marcos family” and is “a blatant example of disinformation.” The group called on educators to reject DepEd’s move and demand transparency in curricular revisions.
ACT, in its statement, emphasized that altering the terminology undermines the truth about one of the darkest periods in Philippine history. It recalled that President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared martial law in September 1972, leading to the closure of privately-owned media outlets, curtailment of civil liberties, and suppression of dissent. International reports documented over 3,000 extrajudicial killings, 35,000 cases of torture, and 70,000 incarcerations during his rule. The Marcos family and their associates are also believed to have embezzled as much as $10 billion or over P500,000 from state coffers.
“To reduce his oppressive rule to a mere ‘Diktadura’ is a disservice to the countless victims of his dictatorship and an affront to the pursuit of historical accuracy and truth,” said Vladimer Quetua, chairperson of ACT. He added, “By attempting to sanitize and whitewash the term ‘Diktadurang Marcos,’ it is failing in its duty to promote critical thinking and historical consciousness among Filipino youth.”
It is worth noting that the Marcos family has never issued an apology or acknowledged the atrocities and mass looting of government funds during Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s over two-decade rule.
DepEd recently unveiled its revised MATATAG curriculum for Kinder to Grade 10 (K-10), with Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio emphasizing the importance of literacy, numeracy, and 21st century skills development. The new curriculum will be officially implemented nationwide starting the next school year, with a pilot run in select schools commencing this school year.
ACT has called on DepEd to retract the directive and ensure that the Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan curriculum accurately portrays the historical truths of the Marcos dictatorship.