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To educate youth on Martial Law, senator wants September declared ‘truth-telling’ month

To educate the youth on the history of Martial Law, Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Monday filed a resolution calling on the government to declare the month of September of every year as a time for national “truth-telling.”

In Joint Resolution No. 4, Hontiveros urged schools and other educational institutions to conduct month-long educational activities to commemorate the declaration of Martial Law, the anniversary of which is on Wednesday, September 21.

“Given its significance to the country’s history, there is a need to not only acknowledge, honor, and commemorate the victims of martial law, but to pause, as well, for reflection upon the social, economic, and political conditions that allowed a dictatorship to take root and flourish in the Philippines,” Hontiveros said.

“And, lastly, work towards genuine reconciliation as a means of repairing the lingering divisions caused by fourteen years of authoritarian rule on our society, institutions, and people,” the senator added.

The counterpart resolution will be filed by Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin in the House of Representatives.

Declaring September as a national truth-telling month, Hontiveros said, was consistent with the provision of the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act, which authorizes the government to implement the mandatory teaching of Martial Law history at all levels of education.

The said provision states that “the teaching of Martial Law atrocities, the lives and sacrifices of human rights violations victims in our history are included in the basic, secondary, and tertiary education curricula.”

Hontiveros, however, pointed out that since the passage of the law three years ago, the government's educational institutions have not yet included the teaching of Martial Law history.

On Tuesday, the Senate Committees on Education, Arts and Culture, and Youth will hold a joint briefing on how the Martial Law era is being taught in schools and colleges all over the country.

Expected to attend the hearing are Department of Education Sec.  Leonor Briones, National Historical Commission of the Philippines chairperson Maria Serena Diokno, and Commission on Human Rights chairman Chito Gascon.

Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV said there was a need to look in to the matter due to the propagation of erroneous information on the Internet regarding the Marcos dictatorship.

“Napansin natin na mukhang nagkaroon na ng pagbabago sa kasaysayan. Nakakalungkot ang pangyayaring ito dahil tila kinalimutan na ang mga nagsakripisyo ng buhay noong panahon ng diktarudya,” Aquino said. — RSJ, GMA News