THE Department of Education (DepEd) has confirmed the issuance of a memo directing the change of “Diktadurang Marcos” to just “diktadura,” which is found in Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan textbooks.

"I confirm that indeed, there was a letter that was sent to the Office of Undersecretary for Curriculum and Teaching. This was made by our Bureau of Curriculum Development (BCD) specialist. This was submitted to my office and forwarded to the Office of Undersecretary for Curriculum and Teaching," DepEd Bureau of Curriculum and Teaching director Joyce Andaya said in a press conference on Monday, September 11, 2023.

"Parte po iyon ng proseso namin (It’s part of our internal process) that our BCD specialist can freely express themselves, and we respect their stand on curricular issues," she added.

Andaya said the directive is not final yet, as it still had to undergo a vetting process.

The DepEd will issue a department order on the matter once it is finalized.

Andaya said the memo only aims to organize the curriculum guide, noting that the martial law and dictatorship under the administration of late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., father of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., will still be discussed.

“The way that our Araling Panlipunan is structured, we did not tackle per presidential admin, but bawat tema (per theme), martial law and dictatorship are still discussed as part of the Marcos administration (Ferdinand Marcos Sr.),” she said.

“Any discussion on dictatorship in the Philippines will inevitably fall on the discussion on President Ferdinand Marcos [Sr.] because no other president has implemented martial law, loss of democratic institutions, deterioration of the economy, ill-gotten wealth,” she added.

The official denied, however, that the department is being subject to political pressure in order to make such a proposal, as it is purely an academic discourse, which the DepEd observes and follows amid the review and revision of the curriculum.

The matter was first floated by House Deputy Minority leader and ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro on Sunday, September 10, 2023.

She said such an order is a “clear revision of history and an insult to the countless victims of human rights abuses and atrocities committed during the martial law period.”

But the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) did not buy Andaya’s explanation.

“Ang paliwanag naman nila daw, wala namang pressure coming from the government or whoever hinggil dito. Kung wala naman pala, bakit kailangan niyo pang gawin?” TDC chairperson Benjo Basas said in a radio interview.

(Their explanation is that there is no pressure coming from the government or whoever regarding this. If there is nothing, why do you need to do it?) (SunStar Philippines)