AS THE country remembers the assassination of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. 40 years ago, a Cebu City-based educator said “historical distortions and fake news are among the great challenges” that her fellow history teachers are still facing and combating.

Laila Labajo, who also teaches anthropology and sociology at the University of San Carlos, said the Aquino family has been the target of historical distortions, misinformation, and disinformation.

Teaching the event surrounding Aquino’s assassination must be based on truth, she said.

After three years of self-imposed exile in the United States, Aquino, a staunch critic of President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., returned to Manila. As he disembarked from the plane on Aug. 21, 1983, he was shot in the head while being escorted to a waiting vehicle for his transfer to prison.

This assassination set off a series of events that eventually led to the People Power Revolution, also known as the Edsa Revolution, in 1986.

Republic Act 2956, signed into law in 2004, declares Aug. 21 of every year as “Ninoy Aquino Day,” a non-working holiday nationwide commemorating the death anniversary of the former senator.

This year, the Ninoy Aquino Day falls on a Monday.

Regarding teaching about the events surrounding Aquino’s assassination, Labajo said she emphasizes evidence-based and student-centered methods by incorporating speeches of and writings by Aquino into their educational materials.

Labajo said she also let her students do the research.

“It should be a student-centered one. Allow them to interview significant personalities and witnesses of the historical events, and let them analyze the issue. Their voice is very important and relevant at this point,” she said.

After Marcos was ousted in 1986, Aquino’s widow, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, became the President, serving until 1992. The couple’ son, Benigno III, was elected President in the 2010 national elections.

Marcos’ son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., became the 17th President of the Philippines after winning the presidential race in 2022.