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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Five responsible Cordillera lawmakers filed a resolution in the House of Representatives condemning the erroneous portrayals of Igorots in textbooks, learning modules and instructional materials and directed the education department to make a thorough review of the same and correct any text which depict in a discriminatory way Igorots and other indigenous peoples and to instruct the authors and publishers of the said materials to withdraw them from circulation to stop the perpetuation of the misleading notion and prevent further discrimination.
House Resolution No. 1552 authored by Kalinga Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Y. Dalog, Jr., Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anticrime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap, Apayao Rep. Elias C. Bulut, Jr. and Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao stated that it should be the policy of the education department to help in creating awareness of the indigenous peoples identity and culture and be part of the system that correct the misleading notions on IPs rather than perpetuating and ignoring them.
Further, the lawmakers pointed out that the education department should ensure that textbooks, instructional materials and learning modules provide accurate information, especially to the youth for them to appreciate the rich culture and traditions of the IPs instead of teaching them to discriminate the same.
The resolution stipulated that Section 31 of Republic Act (RA) 8371 otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) provided that the State shall endeavor to have the dignity and diversity of the cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations of the indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples appropriately reflected in all forms of education, public information and cultural-educational exchange. Consequently, the State shall take effective measures in consultations with ICCs and IPs concerned to eliminate prejudice and discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among ICCs and IPs and all segments of society.
Further, the IPRA expressly stated that the government shall take effective measures to ensure that the State-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. The State shall likewise ensure the active participation of appropriate indigenous leaders in schools, communities and international cooperative undertakings like festivals, conferences, seminars and workshops to promote and enhance their distinctive heritage and values.
The Cordillera congressmen recalled that some learning modules and instructional materials containing erroneous information and portrayal of Igorots have recently circulated online and became viral drawing flock from the indigenous peoples throughout the Cordillera.
In the said learning modules being circulated online, Igorots continue to be maligned very incorrectly because of their physical appearance, fashions, attire and capacity to finish a sound education.
According to the concerned lawmakers, such portrayal and descriptions of the Igorots have immeasurably alarmed, offended and annoyed the people in the Cordillera and that through the aforesaid incorrect information, Igorots continue to suffer discrimination and if not immediately corrected, erroneous notion of mainstream Filipinos about the Igorots or the IPs of the Cordillera will continuously be perpetrated and may result to further discrimination and abuse.
The authors of the House Resolution asserted that as the institution for basic education, it is the responsibility of the education department to have textbooks, instructional materials, and learning modules which contain texts that eliminate prejudice and discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among ICCs and IPs and all segments of society.
The Cordillera lawmakers called on the House committee on basic education and House committee on national cultural minorities and indigenous peoples to cause the conduct of a congressional inquiry on the matter to avoid the commission of similar mistakes in the learning materials in the future. By HENT