The Department of Education (DepEd) has confirmed the controversial memo on changing “Diktadurang Marcos” to “Diktadura” in the Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan syllabus. The agency, however, refuted claims on the intention of historical revisionism and giving in to "political pressure" from the current administration.
In an online news conference on Sept. 11, Jocelyn Andaya, director of DepEd's Bureau of Curriculum and Development, confirmed the directive the agency released on Sept. 6, which calls for the changing of “Diktadurang Marcos” to “Diktadura” after it was reviewed by DepEd's different bureaus.
“If you look at the curriculum, you will see that the way lessons are presented is not particular on any person but on the historical events,” she said. “In other words, we just organized the curriculum guide.”
Andaya then denied claims that there was “political pressure” from the current administration. “It’s purely an academic discussion,” she said.
“We just aligned the topic of ‘Hamon ng Demokrasya’ with the preceding topic, which is ‘Hamon sa Neokolonyalismo.’ So we just focused on the events and themes happening in the Philippines,” she added.
The memo is now already implemented in schools that are currently undergoing the pilot implementation of the revised K to 10 curriculum.
According to the agency’s Sept. 8 memo, around 800 school officials and teachers are expected to participate in the orientation about the new curriculum, and the pilot testing will be done in seven regions.
Andaya also clarified that teachers are allowed to use the term “Marcos dictatorship” should they find it appropriate in lessons, but also mentioned “the need for ‘different and opposing perspectives’ in their discussions.”
“Teachers can always use the terms they think are appropriate as they arise in the discussion and in delivering their lessons. It is the teachers’... to present different and opposing perspectives and make them coexist without erasing the other,” Andaya said.
“It’s important that there is an open discourse about this in the classroom. Because any discussion on the dictatorship in the Philippines will inevitably point to the administration of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.,” she added.
Prior to this, a group of educators strongly denounced the memo, saying that it is a "clear revision of history" and an "insult" to martial law victims.
“The move to eliminate the name 'Marcos' from the term 'Diktadurang Marcos' is a blatant attempt to whitewash the crimes and atrocities committed under his regime. It is an insult to the memory of those who suffered during martial law and a betrayal of the pursuit of justice and accountability for the victims," House Deputy Minority leader and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro said in a statement.
The Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND), meanwhile, called it a “blatant example of disinformation.”
“’Diktadurang Marcos’ as a term/phraseology used in the curriculum explicitly denotes that this period in contemporary Philippine history was an authoritarian rule by Marcos,” they wrote.
“This revision by the DepEd is a clear strategy of the current administration to rehabilitate the dark history of the Marcos family,” they added.
Although it has been rolled out in several educational institutions, Deped clarified that the directive is constantly being reviewed by the agency.
“This is an iterative process, so we will look at the documents and then we will gather the group again. The process will be repeated to look for different angles and ideas,” Andaya explained, noting that curriculum specialists will “‘have a robust discussion’ and come to a consensus.”