VICE President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte has denied reported plans to rebrand Martial Law as the “new society”, saying the Department of Education (DepEd) is not in the business of “erasing these facts and replacing them with something else.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Duterte stressed that the terms New Society/Bagong Lipunan and Martial Law are both “historical facts” and the DepEd has no intention to twist them around in order to change the narratives of the era of dictatorship in the seventies and eighties.
“Katulad ng milyon-milyon nating mga kapwa Pilipino, alam ko po ang kahalagaan ng Martial Law at Edsa Revolution sa ating kasaysayan bilang isang bansa [Just like millions of Filipinos, I know the significance of Martial Law and the Edsa Revolution],” Duterte said.
In fact, she said, when she was young she couldn’t even count the number of yellow pages that she was able to cut out into confetti, for the regular “Yellow Friday Movement” demonstrations led by her grandmother Soledad Duterte in Davao City.
It appears, she added, that she had contributed more to the movement against Martial Law than those who are making some noises now.
“Bilang Education Secretary, wala po sa aking mandato ang pagsira sa integridad ng ating kasaysayan [As Education Secretary, it is not within my mandate to destroy the credibility of our history],” she said.
She said the DepEd is busy with programs aimed to raise the quality of basic education in the country, and has no time for historical revisionism that anti-Marcos groups—but also academics—are warning against. The concern grew after the late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s son, Ferdinand Jr., won the May 2022 elections by a landslide and said he wanted to serve Filipinos while redeeming the name of his father, who declared martial law in 1972 and imposed one-man rule for 14 years. He was ousted in the bloodless 1986 Edsa revolt, and the Marcos family flew to exile in the United States.
Duterte made the clarification after minority senator Risa Hontiveros called on the DepEd to focus on improving quality of education rather than be engaged in historical revisionism. https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/10/25/deped-cautioned-on-rebranding-of-fm-era-ml-to-new-society/
The vice president said, however, “The terms New Society/Bagong Lipunan and Martial Law are both historical facts. It is a historical fact that New Society refers to the program launched by former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. during his administration. She added, “And it is another historical fact that Martial Law refers to the 14-year rule of the former President [Ferdinand Marcos Sr.].” She said both terms have been used in DepEd textbooks “since 2000—within their proper context.”
“DepEd is not in the business of erasing these facts and replacing them with something else,” Duterte reiterated as she cited that the social media post of a learner in Marinduque showing the DepEd module using “New Society,” only focused on one line and not the whole page of the said module.
This, she said, may be used by the critics of DepEd in spreading lies about rebranding and historical revisionism.
“Ang buong pahina ay malinaw na tu-matalakay sa mahabang panahon ng batas militar o Martial Law at ng Edsa Revolution [The whole page clearly discussed the long period of Martial Law and Edsa Revolution],” she added.
Image credits: City Government of Davao/Facebook