Filipino and ‘Pan­i­tikan’ not re­quired in col­lege

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - By Tetch Tor­res-Tu­pas and Jerome Aning @Team_In­quirer —WITH RE­PORTS FROM KRIXIA SUB­ING­SUB­ING ANDMARIEJO S. RAMOS INQ

In a de­ci­sion up­hold­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the K-12 law, the Supreme Court also ruled that Filipino and Philip­pine Lit­er­a­ture were no longer core sub­jects in col­lege.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Filipino and Pan­i­tikan (Philip­pine Lit­er­a­ture) may now be ex­cluded from the core sub­jects in col­lege as it up­held the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the con­tro­ver­sial K-12 law.

The unan­i­mous rul­ing was dated Oct. 9 but re­leased to the me­dia by the court only on Fri­day.

The court de­clared that a Com­mis­sion on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (CHEd) me­moran­dum that re­duced the gen­eral ed­u­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum to a min­i­mum of 36 units was valid.

CHEd’s Me­moran­dum Or­der No. 20 Se­ries of 2013 con­sid­ered Filipino and Pan­i­tikan as no longer core sub­jects.

Univer­sity and col­lege pro­fes­sors, na­tional artists and law­mak­ers grouped un­der Alyansa ng Mga Ta­ga­pag­tang­gol ng Wikang Filipino (Tang­gol Wika) had ar­gued that the CHEd di­rec­tive vi­o­lated the Or­ganic Act of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, the Ed­u­ca­tion Act of 1982 and the Or­ganic Act of the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Cul­ture and the Arts.

The court said changes in the Gen­eral Ed­u­ca­tion (GE) cur­ricu­lum also en­sured that there would be no du­pli­ca­tion of sub­jects in grade school, high school and col­lege.

It said pe­ti­tion­ers’ al­le­ga­tions that CHEd “re­moved” the study of Filipino and Pan­i­tikan from the GE cur­ricu­lum was “in­cor­rect.”

The high tri­bunal is­sued a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new cur­ricu­lum in 2015. But in rul­ing to af­firm the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the K-12 pro­gram, it also lifted the or­der.

10-0 vote

Vot­ing 10-0, the high court de­nied the pe­ti­tions against the K-12 law, or Re­pub­lic Act No. 10533, filed by seven groups of teach­ers, aca­demic or­ga­ni­za­tions, ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor em­ploy­ees, par­ents, stu­dents and leg­is­la­tors, in­clud­ing Sen. An­to­nio Tril­lanes IV and mem­bers of the Mak­abayan bloc in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The court ruled that the K-12 law was duly en­acted, did not con­sti­tute an un­due del­e­ga­tion of leg­isla­tive power and did not in­fringe on con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions re­gard­ing right to ed­u­ca­tion, right of par­ents to rear their chil­dren, the right of per­sons to choose their pro­fes­sion, aca­demic free­dom, right of la­bor to full pro­tec­tion and the use of Filipino as medium of in­struc­tion in the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem.

It also up­held Re­pub­lic Act No. 10157, or the Kinder­garten Act of 2012, and other is­suances of the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, CHEd, Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills De­vel­op­ment Author­ity and the la­bor depart­ment that im­ple­mented the K12 ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram.

“The court, de­spite its vast pow­ers, will not re­view the wis­dom, mer­its, or pro­pri­ety of gov­ern­men­tal poli­cies, but will strike them down only on ei­ther of two grounds: un­con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity or il­le­gal­ity and/or grave abuse of dis­cre­tion,” it said.

It said the pe­ti­tion­ers “failed to show any of the above in the pas­sage of the as­sailed law and the depart­ment is­suances” and sug­gested that they should in­stead seek reme­dies from the ex­ec­u­tive and leg­isla­tive branches of the govern­ment, not the court.

Re­jected arguments

It re­jected the arguments that K-12 in­creased the re­source gap by creat­ing more need for re­sources; that the govern­ment did not have enough funds to add two more years of se­nior high school; that stu­dent-teacher ra­tio was far from ideal; that teach­ers were lowly paid; and that there was no as­sur­ance that se­nior high school stu­dents would get good em­ploy­ment.

It said th­ese were pol­icy mat­ters that were “not the con­cern of the court.”

For­mer Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Ar­min Luistro, who had pushed for the craft­ing and im­ple­men­ta­tion of the K-12 pro­gram, said he was “very impressed” with the court’s han­dling of the pe­ti­tions.

“The de­ci­sion en­shrines many of the po­si­tions taken by the DepEd when it for­mu­lated and im­ple­mented the K-12 re­form. It is a reaf­fir­ma­tion of the work of the for­mer DepEd team and the con­tin­u­ing sup­port of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Luistro said.

‘Anti­na­tion­al­ist’

United Pe­ti­tion­ers Against Kto-12 and Tang­gol Wika slammed the rul­ing for af­firm­ing what they de­scribed as an “anti­na­tion­al­ist and rot­ten sys­tem” that reeked of neo­colo­nial agenda.

David San Juan of Sus­pend K-to-12 al­liance, one of the pe­ti­tion­ers, said they would con­tinue to ex­haust all le­gal and con­sti­tu­tional reme­dies against the Supreme Court rul­ing.

San Juan said the Supreme Court de­ci­sion was in­flu­enced by the govern­ment’s “at­tempt to se­cure the neo­colo­nial re­struc­tur­ing of our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.”

One crit­i­cism against K-12 was that it was sup­posed to pro­duce em­ploy­able high school grad­u­ates who could serve as cheap la­bor.

Ar­min Luistro

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