Claim: A popular Philippine children’s bookline is radicalizing children against the government
The Facts: Western Visayas Peace Advocate red-tags publishing company Adarna House, Inc., in a Facebook post dated May 13, 2022.
The group asserts that Adarna’s #NeverAgain Bundle, which includes titles that discuss Martial Law and the Marcos Years, are ideological propaganda linked with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA), and the National Democratic Front (NDF) aimed at radicalizing young readers to go against the government. Western Visayas Peace Advocate’s post includes a statement by NICA Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo, who led this red-tagging scheme.
This is false.
Adarna House, Inc. is a family-owned business, founded by literary scholar and National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario during the 1980s. The company’s mission is to “[create] products and services used at home and in school to promote love for country, language, and learning,” intended for the “Filipino child who loves and values his history, culture, and country.” (https://adarna.com.ph/pages/about-us).
The #NeverAgain Bundle went on sale after the May 2022 Elections declared Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as the presumptive president. Adarna House intends for the books to enlighten children on the one of the most significant historical events of the country, and “teach kids that truth rests with the people.
Augie Rivera, author of two of the books included, rebukes Monteagudo’s accusations. He denies having any ties with the CPP-NPA-NDF (https://www.facebook.com/augie.rivera.92/posts/10159237650130735). Rivera clarifies that one of the books, “Si Jhun Jhun, Noong Bago Ideklara Ang Batas Militar” (2001), was made as part of a five-title series of historical fiction in collaboration with UNICEF Philippines.
Internationally acclaimed author, Neil Gaiman, also weighs in on the matter. He quote-retweets a statement by Rappler on the issue, stating that it’s “Not good.” (https://twitter.com/neilhim…/status/1524891622953177106…).
Gaiman’s works have also been criticized previously for incorporating ‘sensitive’ topics in children’s books.
Under Western Visayas Peace Advocate’s post, netizens have called for the abolition of these books, stating that these titles should no longer be in circulation and read by children.
Western Visayas Peace Advocate calls itself a nonprofit organizaton and “ aims to promote peace in in the region by propagating information on the current security threat of the Communist Terrorist Groups and exposing the lies and deception of its front organizations.” It has 625 followers in its FB page.
Why we fact-checked this: Red-tagging poses a real threat that can endanger lives, livelihoods, and material records that document historical facts, such as books. Books serve as one of the most enduring sources of historical information.
It is crucial that we remain vigilant in protecting these artifacts to ensure that the future generation of children are critically aware and informed about our history.