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Lawmakers seek probe of martial law ‘rebranding’


PARTY-LIST representatives have filed a resolution asking Congress to probe the state’s alleged efforts to revise Philippine history by putting the martial rule era of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos in school modules in a positive light.

“School modules, regardless of whether or not they are used for the Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies) subject, should contain facts,” Party-list Rep. France L. Castro said in a statement on Thursday.

The congressmen condemned the “rebranding” of the martial law era as “New Society,” based on a school module printed by the Education department.

They said the historical revision is “consistent with the acts and statements of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and his family” in rebranding the period as a “golden era.”

The country’s economy plunged into recession in 1984 and 1985, when economic output shrank by 7.3%, according to the resolution. Inflation in 1984 was 49.5%, while the poverty incidence in 1985 was 59%, it added.

Ms. Castro and fellow party-list Reps. Raoul Danniel A. Manuel and Arlene D. Brosas filed House Resolution 496.

The lawmakers said the distortion violates the intent of a law that recognizes the sufferings of human rights victims during the dictatorship.

“Education must shine a light on, not whitewash the darkness and horror cast on the people when power is concentrated in a person, his family and a cabal of the economic elite,” they said.

The lawmakers also pushed the restoration of Philippine history subjects in high school to fight misinformation.

Vice-President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio on Tuesday said her agency was not seeking to revise Philippine history by rebranding the martial law regime of the late dictator.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is preoccupied with education programs and does not have time for historical revisionism, she added. “DepEd is not in the business of erasing these facts and replacing them with something else.”

Ms. Carpio teamed up with President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., the son of the dictator, for the top two government posts in the May elections.

A senior high school student from Marinduque province earlier posted on social media, including a photo of a DepEd module, that her class was being taught to call the dictatorship from 1972 to 1981 the “period of the New Society.”

Ms. Carpio accused critics of using the agency to incite feelings against the dictator’s martial rule. — Kyanna Angela Bulan

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