A module allegedly released by the Department of Education (DepEd) discouraging participation in rallies was meant for younger students, Malacañang said on Monday.

In the Media and Information Literacy module for Grade 12 students was a guide question: “If given the chance, will you join this rally? Why or why not?”

It also included the correct answer: “No, because the government has been really doing their best for all the Filipino people and their constituents.”

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Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the module may have been made exclusively for elementary and high school students.

“Unang-una, ang initial reaction ko is we defer to the DepEd. Pero remember, ang DepEd naman po, ang supervision niya, elementary and high school. So siguro ang sinasabi lang ng DepEd ay iyong mga elementary at high school ay siguro huwag munang mag-attend ng mga rallies,” he said in a virtual presser.

Citing the Bill of Rights, which states that “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances,” Roque said the government does not discourage protests.

“Ang pinag-iingatan lang natin ay iyong mga wala pang sapat na pag-iisip, iyong mga menor de edad at mga bata,” he added.

On Saturday, Commission on Human Rights spokeswoman Jacqueline Ann de Guia said it was important to encourage the youth to think critically.

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“While respect for the law is a good value to teach, it is equally important to develop among our children critical thinking, especially when it comes to issues that affect us, not only personally, but as well as those national in scope,” she said.

De Guia pointed out that one’s love for country cannot be solely shown through mere obedience but can also be manifested by exercising freedoms of speech and expression, the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

“We stress that our current freedoms that we enjoy today are fruits of past struggles. Instead of discouraging dissent, it would be better to demand better services and accountability from the government and its officials as part of their duty to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of all,” she said.

The CHR also urged the public to report erroneous modules and learning materials to DepEd. John Ezekiel J. Hirro

DepEd’s “error watch” initiative can be accessed through the following:

  • errorwatch@deped.gov.ph
  • 09616805334
  • DepEd Error Watch (@depederrorwatch) on Messenger
  • DepEd Error Watch (https://deped.workplace.com/groups/616392985671470/)