ANOTHER group of parents and teaching and non-teaching personnel is set to appeal to the Supreme Court to suspend the full implementation of the new K to 12 basic education program, citing unclear provisions as well as the lack of public consultations and government preparation.

Members of the Parents Advocacy for Children’s Education (PACE) are calling upon other parents to join their efforts to seek a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the K to 12 Law from the high tribunal.

“We (parents) should unite para ma-suspend itong K to 12. If we really are considered as stakeholders, dapat konsultahin tayo, dahil tayo ang nagpapadala ng estudyante sa mga eskwelahan,” PACE Founding Chairman and UST High School Parents Association board member Revenendo Vargas said during a conference at the Ambassador Hotel last April 11.

Abakada Party Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz backed the group’s petition, saying the lack of consultation with parents could be the basis to challenge the K to 12 Law, which will add two more years of secondary education.

Parents of UST High School students remain opposed to the K to 12 program.

“When we conduct regular meetings either within the organization or together with the administration and teaching staff, it has always been expressed that we really are not for the K to 12,” said Anniela Soliven, parents association president, in an interview.

Last March 12, an alliance of higher education institution (HEI) employees named “Suspend K to 12 Coalition” marched from Plaza Salamanca on Kalaw Street to the Supreme Court last and filed a petition also requesting for a TRO on K to 12, which they described as an “unprepared and ill-designed education program.”

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“The government is not ready to implement a 12-year basic education program as mandated by the K to 12 Law, as seen in the insufficiency of classrooms, facilities, and instructional materials needed by the current 10-year program,” the coalition said in a statement.

The government should first “increase its budget allocation for education, the salaries and benefits of both teaching and non-teaching personnel, and provide sufficient in-service professional development for teachers” before pursuing full implementation, it added.

Rebecca Añonuevo, who teaches in UST and Miriam College, said during the protest: “Ang K to 12 ay produkto ng cramming o pagmamadali. Matatapos na ang termino ng pangulo at gustong ipatupad ang batas na hindi nagsaalang-alang sa karapatan ng mga guro at kawani.”

Other supporters of the petition are faculty unions and associations from UST, Far Eastern University, Adamson University, St. Scholastica's College-Manila, San Sebastian College, Mapua Institute of Technology, and Centro Escolar University.

Another gathering was held by the Suspend K to 12 Coalition last May 9 at the Liwasang Bonifacio wherein four thousand protesters gathered to call again for the suspension of the K to 12 program.

The rally, featured several speakers including Rene Tadle and Vargas from UST, David San Juan of De La Salle University and Tanggol ng Wika, Teachers’ Dignity Coalition National Chairperson Benjo Basas, Alliance of Concerned Teachers’ Rep. Antonio Tinio, and Sen. Antonio Trillianes IV, among others.

“Kapag hindi ka nagrereklamo, sasagasaan ka. Kaya nga tayo tumitindig dito. Hindi pwedeng sinubukan lang natin, kailangan nating pilit na pigilin ito,” Trillanes said. “Palalakihin natin at palalakihin ‘yung ating boses hanggang sa makarating sa Korte Suprema at sa Malacañang."

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Trillianes added the next gathering against K to 12 could be held in Luneta to accommodate a larger crowd.

Tadle, USTFU Internal Vice President and head of the Suspend K to 12 Coalition, said the government should first address problems in Philippine education before fully implementing the K to 12 Law.

“Bago tayo magdagdag ng Grades 11 to 12, ayusin muna ang mga problema [na meron tayo ngayon], kasi kung hindi aayusin, masasayang lang ang buwis na binabayad ng mga tao,” Tadle said.

Meanwhile, San Juan claimed the K to 12 curriculum was not meant to improve students' learning, but was aimed at producing workers to be sent abroad.

Basas said: “Tandaan natin, ang eskwelahan ay hindi ginawa para lang sa layunin na magkaroon ka ng trabaho. [Ito] ay ginawa upang turuan sa kabuuan ng pagkatao ang isang tao at mamamayan."

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo earlier called for the suspension of the K to 12 program, saying that the looming retrenchment of HEI employees would be overwhelming and could lead to “unjust labor practices.”

Around 85,000 HEI employees are at risk of losing their jobs during the two-year transition period of the K to 12 program, according to a study by CHEd and the Department of Labor and Employment. With reports from Dayanara T. Cudal

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