THE Supreme Court rejected several pleas seeking to stop the implementation of the controversial K to 12 program of the Department of Education that added two years to the country’s education system.
The high court did not disclose the vote or release the arguments on which the decision was based, but a brief statement saying the entire court denied the consolidated appeal for a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction stopping the program’s implementation.
The consolidated appeal consisted of six separate petitions of the Council for Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Eduardo R. Alicias, Richard Troy A. Colmenares, Rep. Antonio Tinio and Ma. Dolores Brillantes filed at different times last year.
On the other hand, Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro expressed relief at the SC decision.
“We thank our SC justices because [if its wasn’t dismissed], many students will be put in difficult time and it will be problematic for students if they can’t go to Grade 11 coming June,” Luistro said.
“While we have not received the official documents with the decision of the justices, this announcement allows DepEd and our stakeholders to focus on the urgent remaining tasks for the opening of Grade 11 by June this year,” Luistro added.
But critics of the program expressed their disappointment at the decision.
“The Supreme Court has turned a blind eye to the appeal of parents and students especially the graduating Grade 10 students who are victims of the unfair implementation of the K-12. Teachers also raised much concern on the public school system’s unpreparedness for the K-12 and raised questions on the correctness of its curriculum,” said Gabriela Rep. Emmi De Jesus, one of the petitioners.
De Jesus said they will wait for a copy of the decision before they file a motion for reconsideration to overturn the Supreme Court decision.
“We want to carefully study why the petitions were dismissed given the fact that we are confident that the petitions filed raised valid issues of transcendental importance,” she said.
The Kabataan Party-list expressed “utmost indignation” over the decision of the high court.
“With the high court turning its back on the grave concern against K-12, there is no stopping the Aquino administration from pushing for the implementation of this program, despite the fact that the government is ill-prepared for its implementation,” Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said.
“As it is, the quality of instruction under K-12 is also far from being assured. With the severe lack of facilities and teachers, the practice of shorter hours of instruction is set to continue in the decades to come,” he explained.
The Suspend K to 12 Alliance said that it is “saddened by news reports announcing the Supreme Court’s decision to deny the prayer for issuance of a TRO and/or writ of preliminary injunction against K to 12, filed by at least 6 groups.”
The group emphasized in its statement that the Supreme Court did not even summon respondents and petitioners to oral arguments.
“The Supreme Court failed to consider the pleas of hundreds of thousands of students who will be forced to transfer to for-profit private senior high schools due to the lack of ample public senior high schools, of tens of thousands of teachers who will be fired or have their incomes reduced, of millions of poor parents who will be burdened by additional expenses beyond the government’s voucher scheme,” the group said.
National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, another lead petitioner in the case against K to 12 remarked that the Supreme Court’s decision “will negatively affect the molding of nationalist and socially-conscious citizens of the Philippines, as K to 12 abolished Philippine History in high school, and Filipino, Literature and Philippine Government & Constitution in college.”
Lumbera expressed his hope that “the Supreme Court will be persuaded to revise its stance, once the voices of those who will be affected by K to 12 are heard in oral arguments sessions.”
But Luistro appealed groups opposing the program to work with the DepEd to resolve any of the remaining challenges.
“We are not saying that we’re ready and nothing will change. In fact, we want to work with our critics and those who think we need to work on some other aspects because we can work closely so we can move forward,” Luistro said.
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