By: Jee Y. Geronimo


‘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,’ says incoming Education Secretary Leonor Briones


Review martial law in books? Include other presidents too – Briones 1


MANILA, Philippines – In the past months, there have been calls from different groups to review how Philippine history books portray the martial law years led by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The education department in March vowed to deepen the discussion on martial law and its impact on Filipinos today, after one book was heavily criticized for its “misleading claim” that all of Marcos’ programs “were done to uplift the lives of Filipinos.”

This supposedly “negates the history of untold abuses” during martial law. (WATCH: Young Filipinos shocked by martial law victims’ stories)

Asked if she will heed these calls to review the country’s history books, incoming Education Secretary Leonor Briones said any review should cover the administration of all Philippine presidents, and not just that of Marcos’.

“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,” Briones said on Monday, during her first press conference as incoming education secretary.

“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.”

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She cited as example the case of former President Elpidio Quirino.

“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,” Briones told reporters.

“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.”

“If you do it for the Marcos era, you do it for all,” she added. (READ: Leonor Briones vows ‘consultative’ leadership in DepEd)

The recent calls to review history books happened during the campaign season of the 2016 elections, as Marcos’ son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr ran for the vice presidency.

He eventually lost by more than 200,000 votes to Liberal Party bet Leni Robredo, who is now vice president-elect of the Philippines. –