December 4, 2022

The reaction brought about by the publication of learning materials containing erroneous depiction of indigenous peoples of the Cordillera should prompt the Department of Education to expand its authority in reviewing materials made by private learning institutions.
The city council has suggested to DepEd-Cordillera officials to raise the issue at its central office so it may come up with a policy where the agency can have oversight functions over the publication and distribution of learning materials published by private learning institutions.
Early this month, a module prepared by a government school based in Region 2 reached the attention of DepEd after concerned individuals pointed out that some of its content wrongly depicted the Cordillera IPs.
The issue also prompted Cordillera lawmakers to submit a resolution asking DepEd to hold accountable those who allowed the printing and eventual distribution of the learning materials.
Councilors Joel Alangsab, Arthur Allad-iw, and Philian Alan said even when erroneous learning materials are produced mostly by private learning institutions, the fact is these reach learners.
“It does not matter if this is made by private schools kasi nakakarating ito sa mga bata. Kahit gawa ng private schools, dapat dumaan sa screening ng DepEd,” Alangsab told DepEd-Cordillera Director Estela Cariño during the council’s inquiry on the circulation of erroneous learning materials.
The city council said the DepEd can help educate the public about what and who IPs and indigenous cultural communities are by ensuring every material that reaches students are accurate.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda also suggested that proper information about IPs and ICCs should start within the agency.
She said the DepEd’s IP education program should include all its personnel including non-Cordillerans so that they will have better understanding and appreciation of the culture and beliefs of IPs.
The DepEd-Cordillera is planning to publish a coffee table book containing a full description of the traditions, language, attire of all ethno-linguistic groups in the Cordillera, but the council said the agency does not have to spend much but only to reinforce educating the public, with the goal of ending the stereotype about the different ethno-linguistic groups in the country. – Rimaliza A. Opiña