Efforts to glorify the martial law years came to the fore after presumptive President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. appointed as secretary of Education presumptive Vice-president-elect Sara Duterte, who obviously shares his father President Duterte’s mind that there were no abuses during the martial rule of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
First in the line of attack were children’s book about the evils of dictatorship put out by Adarna Publishing owned by National Artist for Literature Virgilio Armario, who incidentally campaigned for Leni-Kiko in the election,
National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Director-Gen. Alex Monteagudo said of one of Adarna’s books, Ito ang Diktadura.
“This is how the CPP/NPA/NDF radicalize not just our youths, but our children. The Adarna Publishing House published these books and they are now on sale to subtly radicalize the Filipino children against our government.”
Monteagudo also cited another book, Si Jhun-Jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara ang Batas Militar, a book written by Augie Rivera.
“Today dictatorship is still a form of government in many countries, while others, which call themselves democratic, shamelessly reproduce many characteristics of totalitarian governments: there is a high level of corruption, there is no respect for human rights, the laws are made behind the backs of the citizens and those in charge never give enough explanations,” Monteagudo claimed.
The book has a gallery of illustrations of dictators, which includes ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos but also includes communists Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin.
In a statement in defense of Adarna, rights group Karapatan said that its books “are produced by renowned and multi-awarded Filipino children’s book writers and illustrators.”
“Their books on martial law are humble contributions to enlighten our youth about the atrocities experienced by thousands during that period,” Karapatan Secretary-Gen. Cristina Palabay said.
Palabay added that Davao City Mayor Duterte-Carpio’s potential appointment as Education secretary “is expected to bring a tsunami of further fake news and disinformation — if not censorship — on the realities in contemporary Philippine history, especially during the Marcos Sr. and Duterte Sr.
In a Facebook post May 12, Monteagudo linked Adarna to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
He said these books teach children to rebel against government, “Aniya, tinuturuan daw ng mga librong ito na sumalungat sa pamalahaan ang mga bata at kabataan. The FB post included the covers of Ito ang Diktadura by Equipo Plantel at Jhun-Jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara ang Batas Militar by Augie Rivera.
The children’s book Ito ang Diktadura is originally printed as part of a Spanish book series in 1977 to introduce dictators from various countries, such as Adolf Hitler, Kim Jong-il, Saddam Hussein, and Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
This discusses events and experiences under a dictatorship.
The other book, Jhun-Jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara ang Batas Militar, tells the story of organized demonstrations before martial law was declared from the perspective of an innocent child.
Adarna Publishing House is known for creating meaningful books for children since 1980. For this, it has received over 100 awards and citations from here and abroad.
Some of these awards include the Gintong Aklat Award, National Book Awards, Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, International Board on Books for Young People and Noma Concours for Picture Book.
The idea for the publishing house came from a project for Nutrition Center of the Philippines of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.