Karapatan rejects SC ruling on CHED order removing Filipino, Panitikan, Constitution as core subjects

Published June 1, 2019, 4:28 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Jeffrey Damicog

Rights group Karapatan has expressed disapproval over the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision to uphold a memorandum issued by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) which removed Filipino, Panitikan, and the Constitution as core subjects in college.

The SC issued a ruling on March 5 which upheld its Oct. 9, 2018 decision which found that CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 20 did not violate the constitutional provision which mandates the study of Filipino and the Constitution in schools.

However, Karapatan deputy secretary general Reneo Clamor disagreed with the findings of the SC.

“Sa hakbang ng Korte Suprema, inaatake ang karapatan nating maitaguyod ang sariling wika para sa pambansang kultura, kamalayan at tunay na pag-unlad ng bayan (The decision of the SC assaults the rights of the citizens to uphold their language as part of our culture, awareness and real progress),” he said in a statement yesterday (June 1).

Clamor pointed out CMO 20 also runs contrary to the government’s to push nationalism in the country.

With this, he called on the public to continue to oppose such policies which only curtail the rights of Filipinos.

“Sa panahon ng umiigting na atake sa ating karapatan, kasabay ng kaliwa’t kanang pagpapatupad ng mapanupil na mga batas, nararapat lang ang patuloy nating pagkilos laban sa mga panukala ng administrasyong ito (In this age where there is intensified attacks on rights, along with laws which curtail also our right, it is just for us to continue to fight against proposals of this administration,” Clamor stated.

The SC ruling turned down the petition of Tanggol Wika which sought to keep Filipino, Panitikan, and the Constitution as core subjects in college.

“While the Constitution mandates the inclusion of the study of the Constitution, Filipino and Panitikan in the curriculum of educational institutions, the mandate was general and did not specify the educational level in which it must be taught,” read the high tribunal’s resolution penned by SC Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe dated March 5.

“Thus, CMO 20 did not violate the Constitution when it merely transferred these subjects as part of the curriculum of primary and secondary education,” the SC explained.

The high tribunal pointed out “CMO 20 only provides for the minimum standards for the general education component of all degree programs.”

“It does not limit the academic freedom of universities and colleges to require additional courses in Filipino, Panitikan and the Constitution in their respective curricula,” the SC stressed.