Long overdue

Long overdue "This is not the first time errors were found in our childrenís textbooks."



The other day, House Committee on Public Accounts chair and  Probinsyano Ako Representative Jose “Bonito” Singson bared his panel is mulling the imposition of penalties against persons behind the publication and distribution of school books, learning materials, and self-learning modules containing errors or misleading information, whether intentional or not.

This was in reaction to the sexual contents discovered in one of the learning modules being distributed in Mabalacat in Pampanga.

Presiding over June 14 hearing on House Resolution 1670 that directed the House panel to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the Commission on Audit findings on numerous errors in the learning materials and modules that DepEd approved, published, or distributed to basic and secondary education students, Singson averred that while “the Mabalacat learning module that contained vulgarity is very alarming, it is rather unfortunate that Department of Education officials have yet to punish the one behind the obscene entry in the module even as these officials have boasted that they have already corrected the error.

Singson was referring to the report of educator Antonio Calipjo-Go who revealed that the vulgar Filipino word for sexual intercourse was used in describing “aswang” in the self-learning module distributed to students by the DepEd division in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

But while DepEd Undersecretary Tonisito Umali admitted that while they have acted on the issue as early as February 2021, Singson said the DepEd official admitted the person who purposely put the vulgar word in the SLM has yet to be identified and punished.

“What he or she did was intentional, glaringly malicious, and utterly despicable. Like the numerous errors found by COA in DepEd learning materials, it will be difficult for our students to unlearn what their teachers asked them to digest,” Singson said.

To address the issue, Singson said the public accounts panel will determine whether or not there is a need to impose penalties against persons involved in the publication and distribution of books and learning materials for students in basic and secondary education.

I totally agree with Congressman Singson on this matter – penalizing whoever the culprit is behind the malicious incident. Actually, I believe it’s long overdue as this is not the first time this has happened.

I could accept it to be a simple error if it involves typographical, historical or a bit of factual discrepancies. But this one has obviously been done on purpose. In fact, I am inclined to believe this is part of an advocacy.

I once attended a small discussion regarding the inclusion of sex education in the curriculum with some proponents advocating the use of Filipino as a medium. The argument is that if it is not vulgar to talk about sex if it is in English, why then would it be vulgar if is in Filipino?

While I may agree with that line of argument, I find the Mabalacat incident to be in bad taste. Pilit na pilit, maipasok lang yung Filipino word for sexual intercourse.

I also grew up in the streets. Dati din akong tambay sa tindahan sa kanto, thus, I have not only been exposed to street lingos, but I am also quite adept in using them. And nang-aaswang in street lingo, for the longest time, refers to flirting and not sexual intercourse.

And this is not the only deliberate “error” that can be found in learning materials. There are these so-called “politically correct terms” being peddled by some advocates.

Reviewing my children’s books one time, I discovered entries like “aspin” and “puspin” for asong pinoy and pusang pinoy respectively, in reference to stray dogs and cats.

I immediately called the attention of the principal of my kids’ school who assured me they will not resort to using those terms. Why? Because they are very wrong.

Not only have they yet to be approved by the DepEd, but they are also technically erroneous as there are no purebred Philippine dogs and cats. Are these people telling us to call stray cats and dogs by the countries they are in, i.e. amcat, amdog, japdog, japcat, chindog, chincat, etc.?

We haven’t even convinced other countries to accept Filipino domestic helpers as their housemates even as we have institutionalized the word kasambahay to refer to household help. Take note, my wife and my kids are also my housemates, but they are not in any way, my household help.

Then, there is also this issue of referring to inmates as persons deprived of liberty as if they have been unjustly put behind bars. So, what do we call their victims, deprived of lives, properties, dignities, etc.?

If they are really for political correctness, then why not refer to them as persons deprived of liberty as penalty for depriving other people of their lives, properties, dignities, etc.?

But no. These people are bent on pushing their advocacies even if they have to riddle those learning materials with deliberate errors.

That’s why I agree with Congressman Bonito one hundred percent that they be penalized. They just cannot impose their will on anyone.

And to fail them in their sinister endeavor, Singson is calling on government officials and personnel, particularly from the DepEd, on top of authors and writers, to assist in editing, proofreading, examining, and approving errant books for publication and distribution should also be penalized. 

“Unlike our students who are minors and are gullible to assimilate what is taught them in school, I believe it is now time to teach those who committed mistakes, whether intentional or not, a lesson,” Singson stresses.

Rightfully said.

Topics: Jose “Bonito” Singson , sex education , Antonio Calipjo-Go , Department of Education
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