MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Supreme Court (SC) has denied the petition of several groups asking to temporarily stop the government's K to 12 program.
More than a year after the first petition was filed in 2015, the SC en banc finally acted on the consolidated petitions filed by various groups who are against the K to 12 program:
"The Court denied the prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction," the SC said in the press briefing Tuesday, March 15.
Critics of the K to 12 want the program suspended because of its labor implications on college workers, among other concerns. (READ: 2015: Protest against K to 12 at its loudest, reaches the Supreme Court)
The decision comes ahead of the government's nationwide implementation of K to 12's senior high school program this coming June.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro thanked the SC for denying the TRO.
"This announcement allows [the Department of Education] and our stakeholders to focus on the urgent remaining tasks for the opening of Grade 11 by June this year," Luistro said.
He also urged the petitioners and others concerned about the program "to work with us even more closely so we can address any remaining challenges."
Petitioners slam SC decision
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV expressed his disappointment over the High Court's decision.
"Sana man lang naisip nila 'yung hirap na maidudulot ng K to 12 sa mga magulang, teacher at estudyante. Maraming hindi makakapagtapos ng high school dahil dito. Bukod pa rito, hindi pa talaga handa ang mga public high schools sa K to 12," he said in a text message to reporters.
(I hope they considered the hardship that the K to 12 will cause on parents, teachers, and students. Many will not be able to finish high school because of it. Aside from that, our public high schools are still not ready for the K to 12.)
Kabataan party list Representative Terry Ridon said the SC decision will materially impact even on future generations of Filipino school children who will "bear the brunt" of two more years of high school "under a labor-export and profit-oriented framework."
He said the quality of instruction under the program is "far from being assured."
"The K to 12 law poses added burdens, both on part of the government and the families of students. Two more years of education is tantamount to two more years of torture. This, in essence, is what the SC allowed today," Ridon said.
As for Severo Brillantes, counsel for parents and teachers from the Manila Science High School, the SC should have set oral arguments so that the petitioners can prove to justices that the program is unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, the Suspend K to 12 Alliance said "people power is the only recourse we have against K to 12 now."
"We call upon students, teachers, parents and concerned citizens to collectively carry on with the fight against this anti-Filipino, labor export policy-obsessed, anti-teacher and anti-student education scheme," the group added. – with a report from Patty Pasion/Rappler.com
Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.