Saturday, August 25, 2007

On the Review of History Textbooks

25 August 2007

Source: Lana Linaban, Deputy Secretary General, GABRIELLA PHILIPPINES, 371-2302 / 0928-7922342

On the Review of History Textbooks

Now that the school text books are being evaluated and text book
evaluators are being evaluated, it is an opportune time to right our
history for Filipinas. In particular, our history books should
include an account of the tragedy of Filipina "comfort women."
Gabriela Women's Party has already filed a bill on this in 2004 (House
Bill 01019) but it merely languished in the Basic Education and
Culture Committee of the Philippine Congress.

Young Filipinas were abducted, raped and made into sex slaves by the
Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War. That is an
established fact. This war time atrocity together with the Balangiga
massacre of US troops during the Philippine-American War are
historical truths.

We in GABRIELA are appalled that the Department of Education would
find the inclusion of the issue of Filipino "comfort women" in
textbooks demeaning. It only adds insult to the women abused by
Japanese Imperial Army. The Japanese government should be the shamed
party for its history of systematizing war-time abuses against Asian

More so, the DepEd has no right to obliterate the truth and alter our
history – not because its advisers merely find these truths "violent"
or "demeaning to women"; definitely not because it would strain the
Philippine government's relationship with the government of Japan.

If ever, dishonor goes to the Philippine government for not being able
to stand up for its people wronged. The Philippine government has many
times over sold out the dignity and lives of its people – from the
denial of justice for the Filipino "comfort women" to current peddling
of the iniquitous Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement.

Lastly, to dismiss the truth of Filipino comfort women because it is
"demeaning to women" only reflects the archaic values on women and
women's issues of the DepEd. It is just as appalling that the DepEd
seems to be ignorant of the real aim of studying history, which is not
merely to memorize dates, places and names of events past. The study
of history is to learn from it: to learn so that we may not allow
again foreign governments to violate our country and our people and to
be inspired by the Filipino men and women who courageously fought
against these colonizers.

Remembering and learning the lessons from their travails is part of
giving justice to the Filipino "comfort women." ###