Incoming DepEd chief: Portrayal of past presidents, not just Marcos, in textbooks should be reviewed

  • Incoming education secretary weighed in on calls to review Marcos’ portrayals in textbooks
  • She said every administration must be reviewed for the sake of fairness
  • She cited Quirino, said he actually was not as corrupt as the textbooks make him out to be

MANILA, Philippines – Amid the uproar of progressive groups over a K-to-12 book depicting late strongman Ferdinand Marcos as a benevolent dictator, incoming Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Prof. Leonor Briones said she agreed for calls to review textbooks and their portrayal of martial law.

However, Briones— a lifelong activist— said the review should also cover the administrations of all past presidents and not just Marcos’s.

“If ever there would be a review of textbooks, not only on martial law period. We should review again the coverage of all the administrations because not all of the administrations have also been examined fairly,” she told Rappler. “As they say, history is written by the victors, and if we look at the Marcos period, then we look at all the other periods, and then we have to do our best in seeing to it that there will be an objective assessment.”

Briones then cited the case of late president Elpidio Quirino as proof that history doesn’t always view impartially.

“When I was young and you were not yet even born, your parents were not even born, the big issue was that corruption was associated with Elpidio Quirino,” she said. “But now assessment shows that he was clearly a very good administrator and that all the stories probably could have been exaggerated.”

“We have to review the entire array of leadership and presidents of the country and not just one, and the key here is, of course, in the textbook board itself, which is an entity by itself,” she added.