Department of Education (DepEd) Bureau of Curriculum Development Director Jocelyn Andaya on Monday denied any “political pressure” over the move to change the term “Diktadurang Marcos” to “Diktadura” in the Araling Panlipunang subject of Grade 6 students under the MATATAG curriculum.
In an online news conference with DepEd beat reporters, Andaya said the plan to change the term is “purely an academic discourse.”
“Wala pong ganung pressure kahit kanino. Ito po ay isang academic discourse na nakapaloob po ng aming strand ang tawag po ay Curriculum and Teaching Strand. Dito sa strand na ito nandiyan po ang ibat-ibang mga bureau, tumitingin sa curriculum guide and the like. It is purely an academic discussion, no whatsoever,” Andaya explained.
In a memorandum dated Sept. 6, the DepEd’s Bureau of Curriculum Development said it would change the term Diktadurang Marcos to Diktadura in the Araling Panlipunan subject for Grade 6 students under the new MATATAG curriculum.
“It is an academic discourse that we always observe and follow as we review and revise the curriculum,” she stressed.
A teachers group, on the other hand, criticized the plan of DepEd to retitle the subject.
In a statement, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers decried what it said was an “alarming move” by the DepEd, adding it would help spread disinformation and historical distortion.
“The alteration of historical terminology is not only a distortion but also undermines the truth about one of the darkest periods in Philippine history. 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,” the group’s national president Vladimir Quetua said Sunday.
“By attempting to sanitize and whitewash the phrase Diktadurang Marcos, it is failing in its duty to promote critical thinking and historical consciousness among Filipino youth,” Quetua added.
The original Araling Panlipunan curriculum mentions the term Diktadurang Marcos twice in “Mga Pagkilos Laban sa Diktadurang Marcos” and “Hamon sa Demokrasya/Diktadurang Marcos.”
The change in nomenclature was made, the department said, “after the arduous process of review and revision was done under the guidance and scrutiny of experts, the review of stakeholders, and the public and the launch of the MATATAG curriculum.”
The move, according to the memorandum, came following a directive from the DepEd Curriculum and Teaching Management Committee.
The DepEd earlier said the MATATAG curriculum will reinforce the basic foundations-literacy and numeracy-among Filipino learners to ensure they develop 21st century skills.
The MATATAG curriculum is being pilot tested in 30 schools in Regions I, II, VII, XII, the Cordillera Administrative Region, the Caraga region, and the National Capital Region this school year and it will be officially implemented next year.
No historical revisionism
Andaya also brushed aside worries of any historical disinformation or distortion.
“Hindi po iyan revisionism because ultimately and inevitably in the discussion of this, it will always leave to kung sino ang magpapatupad nito. So, wala pong revisionism dito,” she said.
She said that even if the term Marcos was removed in the Diktadurang Marcos, the name of the late dictator will always be included in the actual discussion of the Araling Panlipunan subject on the issue dictatorship.
Andaya further explained that the Araling Panlipunan curriculum is divided into several phases, adding that in the phase of challenges to democracy, among the issues that will be discussed are the 1972 declaration of martial law and the Marcos rule, the “emasculation” of democratic institutions, such as the legislature, during the said period, “human rights abuses, ill-gotten wealth, the fight against the dictatorship, and the killing of opposition senator Benigno Aquino in 1983.”
“Hindi po maaaring hindi banggitin ang pangalang Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Sa pagtatalakay sa paksa ng diktadura,” she said, adding that what the DepEd has done is to organize the subjects to be discussed in the curriculum.
“Kaya wala pong revisionism na nangyari dito at hindi naman natin papayagan yun,” Andaya said.