#CulturePH - FEU's educational research division launches an internet site to combat historical inaccuracies

In order to combat misinformation and disinformation, the Public Policy Center (PPC), a research center for education at Far Eastern University (FEU), launched an online interactive portal that will make it simpler for teachers, students, and the general public to access accurate historical data.

From left to right: University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman - Department of History Assistant Professor Francisco Jayme Paolo A. Guiang, UP Diliman Professor Emeritus and Far Eastern University Public Policy Center (FEU PPC) Trustee Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno, UP Diliman Instructor Aaron F. Viernes, and UP Diliman Assistant Professor Dondy Pepito II G. Ramos

Disinformation is a rising social issue in the nation, along with misinformation. Fake news is now widely spread on social media and in other sources as a result of the distortion of facts. Additionally, it is observed that there are many gaps in the records of some of the significant historical occurrences in the country. Recent research on the history and culture of indigenous peoples as well as the origins of Filipino values was brought up during the FEU PPC's "#HearLiesTheTruth History Textbook Review: Online Interactive Publication" forum.

The university also identified stereotyping as a widespread issue and observed activities that were more emotionally appealing than fact-based, leading to students' lack of critical thinking abilities and the development of historical prejudice.

More crucially, FEU discovered that while Martial Law and the 1986 People Power Revolution were only included in 10% of Araling Panlipunan textbooks, school books did not fully present the full history of these events. Furthermore, the actual talks are scant, with each subject usually just occupying two courses although covering 14 years of Philippine history.

In light of the nation's recent commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Martial Law, the FPPC is urging a more detailed and accurate retelling of history as well as a more aggressive campaign against general false news.

From left to right: Youth Leadership for Democracy (YouthLed) Program Officer Markus San Gabriel, Far Eastern University Public Policy Center (FEU PPC) Program Manager Erika Mariel Mayoni, FEU PPC Executive Director Julia Andrea Abad, University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman - Department of History Assistant Professor Francisco Jayme Paolo A. Guiang, UP Diliman Professor Emeritus and FEU PPC Trustee Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno, FEU President Dr. Michael M. Alba, FEU Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs Atty. Gianna R. Montinola, UP Diliman Instructor Aaron F. Viernes, UP Diliman Assistant Professor Dondy Pepito II G. Ramos, YouthLed Program Officer Marion Joseph Villar, and YouthLed Assistant Program Officer for Communications Raya Barreiro

The #HearLiesTheTruth discussion featured a launch of the web portal with an emphasis on The Dilemma of Philippine History Textbooks. Professor Emeritus of History Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, a former chairperson of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and a group of educators from the UP Diliman Department of History are in charge of this endeavor.

“Textbooks are the primary, and in many instances the sole learning resource for our students and teachers. The history told here must always be factual,” says Diokno. “Our online portal aims to correct the historical inaccuracies and build civic education for the younger generation. They must be aware of our nation’s past and continued struggle to build a free and democratic society, in a manner that is founded in true history,” she adds. 

The interactive portal can be freely accessed by anyone who wishes to dive deeper into the facts and correct the long standing inaccuracies perpetuated throughout our history. However, the FPPC hopes that it is other educational institutions, teachers, and students who become the primary users of the website. As educators, FEU sees it as their shared responsibility to make sure that the history being passed down to the youth is accurate and without bias. It is also their duty to encourage fact-checking and critical analysis of information shared, whether online through lessons or other avenues.

“Improving the quality and reliability of our historical narratives is imperative, now more than ever. We’re facing a tough enemy that's plaguing the news and the education system,” says FEU President Dr. Michael M. Alba. “We’re hopeful that our work shines a more accurate light on our past and enhances the depth of understanding about our history, ourselves, and our nation - eventually leading us towards a brighter and more inclusive future for this country that we all love,” he ends.

A replay of the forum is available on the FEU Public Policy Center Facebook page. Meanwhile, the online portal is accessible via https://tinyurl.com/HearLiesTheTruth.

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