The Gist


Early this month, the #Im_Proud_To_Be_An_Igorot_Challenge went viral on social media as part of the ethic group's effort to correct numerous incidents that paint their culture in a negative light.

/ 15 February 2021

As a kid in school, you expect to gain vital information and important knowledge that would serve as the foundation for everything you know in life from your teachers and lessons. Math equations, scientific terms, subject-verb agreement rules, and the like. As a student, you don’t really think about the validity or truth behind what your teachers are teaching you—especially in grade school—because you just expect it to be true and factual.

So when a module from an official learning authority such as the Department of Education (DepEd) publishes something about a certain group of people, the students it intends to teach will consider it as fact.

This is why it’s absolutely crucial to only have correct information in published learning modules, and for educators to assess its contents before sharing it with students. To make sure that these lessons contain nothing dangerous, erroneous, or inappropriate.

For these very reasons, the DepEd has consistently been under fire for several statements and exercises published in self-learning modules that Filipinos deem to be unacceptable. From fat shaming celebrities to demoralizing political dissent, the department has faced numerous questionings from the public about the information they choose to spread through their learning materials.

The most recent incident happened just this February, when a netizen shared photos online of statements in a DepEd-issued learning module that wrongfully depicted the Igorot people, a Filipino ethnic group generally residing in the mountains of Luzon in the Cordilleras.

In the text, an exercise asking students to answer if the given statements were “Tama” (right) or “Mali” (wrong) included these in the items:

“Nakita mong tinutukso ng kaklase mo ang isang batang Igorot dahil sa kanyang anyo.” (“You see your classmate teasing a young Igorot for the way he looks.”)

“Hindi ako makikipaglaro sa aking kaklase ng Igorot dahil iba ang kanyang pananamit.” (“I won’t play with my classmate who is an Igorot because he/she dresses differently.”)

The statement incited anger among the Igorot community who found it offensive, irresponsible, and deeply concerning, considering that this was an exercise intended for young children in school. They believe that the discriminatory remark poses a real danger in how the community will be perceived by the next generations. However, this is not the first time that DepEd has published harmful statements regarding the Igorot community in particular.

In light of the continual discrimination and defamation thrown against the community across several educational materials, a full statement was published by the Representative of Mountain Province, Atty. Maximo Dalog Jr., to address the Department of Education.


Furthermore, the community initiated the #Im_Proud_To_Be_An_Igorot_Challenge, where they shared photos of themselves in traditional attire and casual clothing—proving that there’s actually very little difference in their appearance from other Filipinos in the first place.


As the issue received more and more attention online, the Department of Education officially looked into the matter and expressed their deepest apologies to the community, emphasizing that it was not their intention to discriminate anyone. Department leaders also stressed that the leaked activity sheets were “mistakenly reproduced” by school personnel, but it was actually still “undergoing quality assurance.” The said materials have since been recalled for immediate correction.


This is just one more incident added to the long list of concerning statements that have come out of state-issued educational materials from the DepEd—an institution responsible for ensuring the quality of education young Filipinos receive across the Philippines. What, then, does that entail for the next generations if these errors fail to be called out and eventually corrected?

Hopefully we won’t have to find out.