BOKOD, Benguet – The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) and the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR) passed a joint resolution strongly condemning the erroneous portrayal of indigenous peoples (IPs) in textbooks and instructional materials which had been circulated in the different parts of the country.
The RDC-CAR and RPOC-CAR joint resolution directed the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP-CAR) to coordinate with the authors of the textbooks and instructional materials that reportedly erroneously portrayed the IPs for them to voluntary withdraw the said books and materials from circulation and to make the appropriate corrections before authorizing the circulation of the same.
Further, the NCIP-CAR was tasked to also study the possibility of filing the appropriate civil case against the authors of the books and instructional materials for them to answer for their erroneously portrayal of the IPs.
Both policy-making bodies expressed fear that if the erroneous information in textbooks and instructional materials are not immediately corrected, erroneous notion of mainstream Filipinos about IPs, especially Cordillerans or Igorots, will be perpetuated and may result to further discrimination and abuse.
Earlier, both the Cordillera offices of the Department of Education and the NCIP have been receiving numerous complaints over the erroneous portrayal of IPs, particularly Cordillerans or Igorots, in textbooks and instructional materials.
However, the DepEd-CAR explained that while its Bureau of Learning Resources has established mechanisms and processes to assure the quality of learning resources are issued to public schools, it does not have control over private publishers that sell textbooks and supplementary learning materials to private schools in the different parts of the country.
Moreover, the DepEd-CAR pointed out that it has already scheduled a focus group discussion with school heads of the region’s private schools, its council of elders under the IP education program and key DepEd-CAR officials to discuss the issues and remind the school heads responsibilities to ensure that their instructional materials provide accurate information about the IPs.
The RDC-CAR’s Committee in IP Concerns noted that textbooks used in other regions could have also erroneously portrayed IPs, especially Cordillerans or Igorots, which explains why negative comments about Igorots persist in the social media.
The approved resolution will be transmitted to all Cordillera congressmen, central offices of the DepEd and NCIP, concerned committees in both the House and Senate dealing with IP concerns and educational policies, and other government offices in the different parts of the country for their information and appropriate action.
The RDC-CAR and RPOC-CAR expressed disappointment over how authors of books erroneously portray IPs when in fact, the same had been time and again raised in various gatherings around the country, thus, the need for the drastic actions to be taken to instill discipline and awareness among the publishers of books and instructional materials.