MANILA, March 9, 2016— A Catholic bishop has appealed to the Supreme Court to stop the government from implementing its K to 12 educational reform program.
As an immediate injunctive relief, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo called on the high court to issue a temporary restraining order against the program that adds two more years to high school.
In a letter dated March 9, the prelate asked Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to act on a petition by the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities seeking for TRO filed before the SC a year ago.
However, he said, there has been “no substantial action” yet by the SC to resolve the matter, except to have the first petition consolidated with the six other petitions that also questioned the constitutionality of the K-12.
“While I understand that the SC has to deliberate on my other cases, I would like to appeal to your good office to prioritize the decision on the petitions for TRO against K-12,” Pabillo said.
“As I speak now, parents and students are at a loss on how to shoulder the additional burden of K-12, with the students unable to receive high school diploma, and proceed to college which they deserve,” he said.
The prelate believes it would be best to suspend the program while the education system continue to face perennial problems such as lack of classrooms, low student-teacher ratio as well as low salary of teachers.
“These conditions are unacceptable in a just and democratic society, and the delays in the ruling have already caused much anguish and anxiety on the part of affected education stakeholders,” said Pabillo.
“It is clear that the K-12 law has failed to provide substantial safety measures for our college teachers and staff in regard to their labor and economic rights which our Constitution upholds,” he added.
Voicing its concern that many students will drop out as a consequence of K-12, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) previously called on the government not to forget the poor.
It also asked the government to make sure that teachers are not displaced because of the program supposedly meant to upgrade the Philippine education.
As a collegial body, however, the bishops stopped short of categorically stating if it is for or against the measure.
For leaders of Catholic schools, the K-12 will make Filipino children more globally competitive.
The Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines (CEAP) said that program must continue or it is the children who will suffer the most.
“We have to make this happen. Our nation, our people cannot afford to delay this any further,” said La Salle Br. Jun Erguiza, CEAP president. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)