An Araling Panlipunan textbook for second-graders with a cartoon of a daycare center and a school guarded by soldiers—apparently drinking—was found offensive by the military, pushing Baguio education department officials to apologize.
A photo of the cartoon, which had made its rounds on social media, portrayed men wearing shirts that read “ARMY” and “9th ID”, the latter of which referred to the Army’s 9th Infantry Division. One of the cartoon men wore a shirt that was marked “AFP”, for Armed Forces of the Philippines. Another military man was shown running off with a live chicken.
That portion of the textbook asked students to draw an X on the things that should not be happening in a functional community.
A statement released by DepEd said: “The cartoon violated our social content standard by issuing the wrong perspective about the role our soldiers play in maintaining peace and order in the community.”
Baguio City schools division superintendent Caroline Verano said that she “did not realize that the drunks in the cartoon were labeled” but assured that it was not the textbook’s intention to malign the military.
She further explained that the book was not examined by the regional office, and the picture’s origins were traced back to an underground communist publication. A teacher directed to “localize” modules then took the cartoon from the internet. The teacher has since issued an apology to the AFP.
“I wish they would just forgive us. It was an honest mistake,” Verano added.