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Opinion: Let’s see to it that History is not altered
« on: January 18, 2017, 04:29:14 PM »
Let’s see to it that History is not altered
Published: December 24, 2006 by The Bohol Standard
By Atty. Gertrude Biliran

We learn of and from our past by studying history.

In the same way, future generations will learn of and from our past and present, which by then, will be become history, by what we write in history books. They will, therefore, be enlightened of our past and present only as much as we let them.

History is always written by the winners, quoting a bit of author Dan Brown. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated and the winner writes the history books - books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe.

Napoleon was quoted to have said, “What is history but a fable agreed upon? By its very nature, history is always a one-sided account.”

One dark era of our country’s history was the declaration of martial law 33 years ago by dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Our children’s knowledge of the realities of martial law is as much as we let them. Hence, if we leave the writing of our history to people who would rather that we remember (and our children learn of) Marcos as a hero rather than a dictator, we become the losers whose cultures are clashed and obliterated by the winner.

This is not too remote a fear. Even while the martial law babies and oldies are still alive, history has already been altered.

In Aralin 19 of “Pagbabago”, the history (Araling Panlipunan) textbook required for first year high school students in public schools, Marcos was quoted as saying that he used his power as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces “upang mailigtas sa pananakop, rebelyon, at insureksyon ang bansa”.

Nowhere is it written in the history textbook that a kidnapping was staged to justify the declaration of martial law, as already admitted by its “architect”. Even while it was written in the textbook that there was salvaging, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, arrests of the opposition, prohibitions from the conduct of rallies, demonstrations and strikes, closure of radio and television and suspension of the Constitution, these were depicted as necessary “para sa ikauunlad nga bayan”.

According to the textbook, “nabawasan ang mga krimen” during martial law. Clearly, the human rights abuses and crimes committed by the military were not considered as “krimen” by the authors.

To quote “Isaisip at Tandaan”, the last portion of the chapter:

“Maraming dahilan kung bakit idineklara ang batas-militar. Ilan dito ay ang laganap na katiwalian sa mga pinuno ng pamahalaan at malawakang kaguluhan sa iba’t ibang parte ng Pilipinas.

Sa pagdeklara ng batas-militar nawala ang karapatan laban sa illegal na pagpipigil o pagpipiit ng walang dahilan. Nabago ang pamahalaan. Ang ilan sa mga ito ay ang pag-aalis ng datihang tanggapan at kawanihan at paglikha ng bago, pagpapalit ng patakaran ng lipunan, paglalagay ng katahimikan at kaayusan sa kamay ng sandatahang lakas ng bansa, pagkakaroon ng programa sa pagpapaganda ng kapaligiran, paglulunsad ng mga proyekto sa pabahay, pagpapagawa ng imprastraktura, plantang geothermal, pagpapatupad ng repormang pansakahan, gayundin ang pagbabago sa sistema ng edukasyon, at marami pa.

Ang pagkakaroon nga Batas-Militar sa bansa ay nag-iwan ng maraming aral na dapat nating alalahanin at pahalagahan.”

One is led to wonder why the Department of Education (DepEd) turned a blind eye to this grave misrepresentation. Surely, our DepEd officials were already born during martial law to have seen for themselves if martial law, indeed, did us any good. Don’t they anymore feel the outrage as they did then?

The effort of one mother, Daisy Valerio, to counteract these blatant lies is highly commendable. In her noble effort to enlighten the next generation of the real horrors of martial law, she wrote the book, “The Story I Will Tell My Children”. Alas, however, this is not the textbook our high school students are required to read in class. While the “Araling Panlipunan” textbook is taken as the gospel truth which our students should memorize, the book “The Story I Will Tell My Children” might only be relegated to the category of “fiction”.

This historically inaccurate history textbook (“Pagbabago”) should, therefore, be withdrawn from the schools and corrected. Instead, we should read “The Story I Will Tell My Children” and pass it on to our children.

Otherwise, our children will not know any better. No wonder there were some who texted our radio stations last September 21 to ask if there were classes or work that day, perhaps thinking that the country was celebrating. Perhaps, in high school, they studied the same Araling Panlipunan textbook.

We have always pointed out the grim reality that Filipinos are such a forgetful people. One perfect example is the present president who recently announced the enforcement of the “rule of calibrated preemptive response in lieu of maximum tolerance” to suppress rallies and movements, as if it was not the people’s movement which propelled her to the presidency not too long ago. Another perfect example is the National Security Adviser who, totally forgetting his ideals as an activist during martial law, forged a contract with an American firm to lobby with US Congress for funds to finance our Charter change, thus compromising our sovereignty. And, the turnout of last Wednesday’s martial law rally in Makati was dismal.

Apparently banking on this amnesia, Bongbong Marcos, son of the late dictator, lately claimed that the Marcoses are the human rights victims. Duh???!!!

What’s worse than the Filipinos’ being a forgetful people is when history is altered due to our negligence or premeditation. This is not a remote possibility. We already have the “Pagbabago” textbook to prove this point. God knows how many more history books will be written acclaiming Marcos as a hero and touting martial law as an effective vehicle “para sa ikauunlad ng bayan”.

Let us continue to remember. Let us continue to be angry. Let us emerge as winners and write our history - as it truly was.

(For those who wish to read “The Story I Will Tell My Children”, you may contact Daisy Valerio at telephone no. 02-4261126; we mourn the death of Haydee Yorac, a woman who has proven herself worthy to be buried at the Libingan nga mga Bayani; for comments, pls. email us at

Romans 10:9-10
"If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

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