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Monday, June 4, 2012

Implementing the K+12 program without an enabling law

“The DepEd has essentially tied the hands of Congress that K+12 must definitely be passed because it had already started its implementation. How can this not be a constitutional infringement of the highest order?” lawyer Terry Ridon, national president and general counsel of Kabataan party-list, said.

Party-list lawmakers slammed the Department of Education (DepEd) for implementing the K+12 program without an enabling law from Congress.

Ridon said DepEd preempted the constitutional prerogative of Congress to determine with certainty the type of formal basic education, including its curriculum and years of study that it deems best for the nation’s children.

The proposed legislation on the K+12 education program pushed by the government is still pending before the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture.

For the K+12 law to be passed, the measure would still need the approval of the 285 members of the
House of Representatives. The proposed legislation would need to pass second and third reading approval before it is signed by President Benigno Aquino III.

But Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero III backed the implementation of the program.
“DepEd can already implement the government’s K to 12 program even without an enabling law. What is pending before the House committee is to ensure that funds will be available even after the term of President Aquino in 2016,” he explained in a telephone interview.

Last month, Education Secretary Armin Luistro issued DepEd Order 31—the guidelines for the implementation of the new curriculum.

Meanwhile, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi De Jesus said the government is sowing false hopes with its continued persistence in implementing the K+12 program.

De Jesus noted that the implementation of the program will worsen problems in public school facilities with the continuing shortage of 132,483 teachers; 97,685 classrooms; and 153,709 water and sanitation facilities.
“DepEd’s claim that the universal kinder program will prepare the children socially, physically, mentally and emotionally is clearly debunked by this situation, which glaringly exposes our government’s disregard for quality education. The situation from last year has not improved and yet the government continues to banner the K+12 program,” she stressed.

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio said while the progressive party-list bloc is criticizing the education department, they have no plan to question the K+12 before the courts.

“No, we don’t plan to question the K to 12 before the courts at this time. DepEd can claim that it has authority to implement changes in the curriculum,” he said in a text message.

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