The issue on the erroneous information on the Cordillera Region published in various textbooks was discussed by the Committee on Indigenous Peoples’ Concerns (CIPC) of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) during its third quarter meeting on August 15 in Baguio City.

This surfaced after the Banaue Rice Terraces, located in Ifugao, was reportedly erroneously called “Banana Rice Terraces”.

According to DepEd-CAR’s Education Program Supervisor Ethielyn Taqued of the Curriculum and Learning Management Division, complaints have reached her office that several K-12 books used in private schools provided erroneous information about the Cordillera and its people. Their investigation revealed that a factual error was committed in the book “Bagong Lakbay ng Lahing Pilipino” which was authored by Arlene Julian and Nestor Lontoc, when it stated that “Hagdan-hagdang Palayan sa Ifugao na makikita sa Rehiyon ng Ilocos …”.  Another book, Bagong Lakbay ng Lahing Pilipino (Second Edition), authored and coordinated by Alma Dayag,  showed bias when it posed the question: “Kapwa Pilipinong mula sa bulubundukin ng Cordillera ang nanay at tatay ni Beno. Siya ay ________?”,   to which the correct answer, according to the book, should be “maliit at maitim”, referring to the picture/illustration given.

Dr. Taqued explained that the DepEd, through the Bureau of Learning Resources (BLR), has established mechanisms and processes to assure the quality of learning resources that the Department issues to public schools. She added, however, that the BLR does not have control over private publishers that sell textbooks and supplementary learning resources to private schools.

DepEd-CAR, however, has scheduled a focus group discussion/consultative meeting on September 3 with the school heads of the region’s private schools, Council of Elders, and key DepEd-CAR officials to discuss the issue and remind the schoolheads’ responsibility to ensure that books which they give to their students provide accurate information.

For its part, the CIPC plans to come up with a resolution condemning the erroneous information and cultural insensitivity demonstrated in the school textbooks. The proposed resolution, addressed to Congress, will request them to come up with appropriate laws that will regulate the publication of textbooks and effectively ensure that erroneous information are avoided.

The CIPC is one of the six regular sectoral committees under the RDC-CAR. It is composed of Cordillera regional line agencies with IP programs and projects, state universities and colleges, higher education institutions, non-government organizations, and provincial and municipal Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives. It is chaired by NCIP-CAR Director Roland Calde.    NEDA-CAR serves as the technical Secretariat, together with NCIP-CAR.