Opposing groups on removal of Filipino, Panitikan: ‘Fight is not yet over’

Published November 15, 2018, 7:03 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

For groups opposing the “removal” of Filipino and Panitikan in the new General Education Curriculum (GEC), the “fight is not yet over.”

Issuing a statement, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) expressed disappointment on the recent decision of the Supreme Court (SC). The group said that if Jose Rizal were still alive, he “would surely lash out” at the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the SC for “removing Filipino as core subject in college.”

“This horrendous move by the Philippine government is enough to make students and teachers mad altogether,” the NUSP said. “Under an educational system that treats students as factory products made ready for export, our country’s culture and language are deemed unnecessary,” the group added.

The NUSP noted that “when students are made to compete globally for low-paying jobs as semi-skilled laborers, marketable subjects are glorified while humanities and social sciences are disposed of.” This, the group added, is “evident in K-to-12 in basic education, trimmed general education (GE) curriculum in college, and the accompanying demotion of Filipino.”

“All student leaders in the country and all advocates of Filipino culture are enjoined to expose and combat these signs of the colonial education which persists in our country until today,” the NUSP said.

For Alyansa ng Mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino (TANGGOL WIKA) convenor David Michael San Juan, the SC should reverse its decision. The group is an assembly of scholars and Filipino advocates and among those groups that have filed a petition to stop the CHED Memorandum Order No. 20, series of 2013 also known as the “General Education Curriculum Holistic Understandings, Intellectual and Civic Competencies” which excluded the study of Filipino, Panitikan, and the Philippine Constitution as core subjects.

The TANGGOL WIKA also started a petition to Supreme Court of the Philippines at the Change.org. Signed by Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, the decision dated October 9, 2018 ruled that the K to 12 law was “duly enacted,” as “it adequately provides the legislative policy that it seeks to implement.” It likewise declared that its related issuances including RA No. 10157 or the Kindergarten Education Act, and DepEd Order (DO) No. 31, s. 2012 entitled, “Policy Guidelines on the Implementation of Grades 1 to 10 of the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum,” are all constitutional.

For San Juan, Caguioa’s decision “lacks depth and breadth.” The SC decision, he said, “did not even discuss most major points raised by the petitioners” and it “technically tosses matters into the hands of Congress and Senate by saying that many constitutional provisions which petitioners cited are non-executory.” He said that the SC decision also “suffers from lack of attention to important details.” He also noted that the SC “did not summon petitioners for any public hearing.”