THE Supreme Court has dismissed consolidated petitions challenging the legality of the government’s Republic Act 10533 (Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013) or commonly known as K-12 program.
In a 94-page decision, the high court stressed the petitioners should have first sought remedy with the executive and legislative branches of the government, not from courts.
Under RA 10533, the number of years of basic education was increased to include a year of kindergarten, six years of elementary education and six years of secondary education – four years junior high school and two years of senior high school
“For having failed to show any of the above in the passage of the assailed law and the department issuances, the petitioners’ remedy thus lies not with the Court but with the executive and legislative branches of the government,” the SC said in the decision penned by Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
At the same time, the SC declared as valid Republic Act 10157 or the Kindergarten Education Act institutionalizing kindergarten as part of the basic education and mandatory for admission to Grade 1.
Likewise declared as valid were other related issuances including Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Memorandum Order No. 20, Department of Education Order No. 31 or the policy guidelines for the implementation of K-12 and the Joint Guidelines on the Implementation of the Labor and Management Component of RA 10533.
“The assailed law’s declaration of policy itself reveals that, contrary to the claims of petitioners, the objectives of the law serve the interest of the public and not only of a particular class,” the court ruled.
The petitioners claimed that the additional two years in high school would mean “additional expenses to parents who were already trying to make ends meet.”
Petitioners which included Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio also argued that the law was passed without public consultations considering that it will mostly affect the lower income Filipinos.
But the high court said the allegations of the petitioners were bare as the government pledged to subsidize students entering the K-12 program through the “voucher system.”
Under the senior high school curriculum, students can choose among four strands: 1. Accountancy, Business and Management (ABM) Strand; 2. Science and Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Strand; 3. Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) Strand and 4. General Academic (GA) Strand.