Multi-sectoral group bares discrepancies in K to 12 law
REPUBLIC Act 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act that gave rise to the K-12 program and signed by President Benigno Aquino III is a different version of the enrolled bill that was signed by leaders of both Houses of Congress, a multi-sectoral group told the Supreme Court Thursday in a bid to stop the implementation of the program.
The petitioners composed of college teachers and staff said the discrepancies between RA 10533 and the enrolled bill, which has been scrutinized by both Houses of Congress is proof that the law was “unduly enacted” and should not be considered a law.
“The discrepancies are a telling indication that RA 10533 was not duly enacted. It is unquestionably different from what Congress intended it to be because of unilateral intercalations and deletions subsequent to congressional passage,” petitioners said.
“These are unconstitutional acts which militate against the spirt and intent of Section 26 Article VI of the Constitution which mandates exhaustive congressional deliberative scrutiny in passing a statute,” the petition further stated.
An enrolled bill is the final copy of the proposed legislation which was approved by both Houses of Congress. It will be certified by the Secretary of the Senate and the Secretary General of the House of Representatives, then it will be signed by both the Senate President and the Speaker. Then, it will be transmitted to the President for approval.
Here are some of the portions from the enrolled bill that did not make it to RA 10533:
-The basic curriculum shall be adapted locally to the language, cultures and values of Filipino learners in order to aid teachers in planning lessons which build what the learners already knew.
-The curriculum shall be value-driven, culture-responsive and culture sensitive.
-The curriculum shall be information, communications and technology (ICT)- based. It shall equip graduates with the necessary 21st century skills which include information, media and technology skills; learning and innovation skills; effective communications skills; and life and career skills. Mathematics and Science subjects shall be introduced as early as Grade 1. Science may be integrated with other subjects such as Mother Tongue, Mathematics, Health and Araling Panlipunan.
-The curriculum shall have a balanced assessment program that uses classroom-based traditional and authentic assessment tools which include implementation of self assessment (assessment as learning); formative assessment (assessment for learning); and summative assessment (assessment of learning). National assessment tools shall be developed and administered at the end of grades 3, 6, 10 and 12 to determine the level of learning achievement for every learner.
-Apart from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST), members of the Curriculum Consultative Committee shall include Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), association of private and public schools, teachers organization, parent-teachers association, elders of the indigenous peoples communities and the chambers of commerce.
The composition of the members under the law was changed to members of the Curriculum Consultative Committee shall be representatives from the business chambers such as the Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry association.
Other provisions from the enrolled bill that failed to make it to the law are:
-The members of the curriculum consultative committee shall be knowledgeable and committed community leaders and education experts who shall provide strategic policy advice on kindergarten, elementary and secondary school curriculum. At the request of the Secretary of Education, the committee may be supported by a working group of experts on selected topics. The chairperson and members of the consultative committee shall not be entitled to additional compensation in the performance of their functions.
-There shall be available instructional materials and capable teachers to implement the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE).
-The curriculum shall include co-curricular and community involvement programs.
Petitioners pointed out that by deleting or inserting provisions in a bill after a third reading or after the Bicameral Conference Committee, the lawmakers “trampled upon the concept of representative or republican democracy which is entrenched in the Constitution.”
“By disregarding the consolidated bill, they disenfranchised the Filipino people’s presumed will expressed through their representative,” the petition stated.
“Such unconstitutional act of supplanting the presumed will of the sovereign Filipino people articulated through the elected representatives in Congress with the judgment of the Speaker and the Senate must therefore be struck down by this Honorable Court as the final protector of democracy and guardian of constitutional supremacy which proscribes the introduction of amendments after the last reading of a bill.”
Apart from R.A. 10533, they also asked the high court to nullify R.A. 10157 which institutionalized the kindergarten education into basic education system.
“The K-12 Program, in making kindergarten and high school education compulsory, expands the constitutional definition of basic education, which is consistent with international law standards,” petitioners argued in a 55-page petition.
They explained that only primary education is compulsory under Section 2, Article 14 of Constitution.
“Under the doctrine of Constitutional Supremacy, Congress may not pass an act repugnant to the Constitution. R.A. 10533 and R.A. 10157 are violations of the doctrine,” they further alleged.
Petitioners also assailed DepEd Order No. 31 – 2012, which provided policy guidelines on the implementation of Grades 1 to 10 of the K-12 basic education curriculum. They said DepEd usurped the power of Congress by creating a law without delegation of power.
They said the same order “violates the constitutional right of parents to participate in planning programs that affect them and the right to information.”
It was the third petition filed with the SC against the K-12.
Last March, the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines filed a similar petition questioning the legality of the K-12 program under Republic Act 10533 and its implementing rules and regulations.
Earlier this month, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed a similar petition.
The high court, however, did not immediately act on their TRO plea and instead first sought comments from the DepEd.
A related petition related to the K-12 program was filed last month by groups of professors from universities, student leaders and lawmakers led by ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon.
In that case, the high tribunal issued a TRO last April 22 enjoining the implementation of Commission on Higher Education’s Memorandum No. 20 – 2013 insofar as it abolishes Filipino and Panitikan as mandatory subjects in colleges and universities in line with the implementation of government’s K-12 education program.
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