Groups slam K to 12 implementation as Aquino signs law

“The K12 aims to produce cheaper, more ‘exploitable’ labor. The program is meant to ensure more ‘semi-skilled’ youths enter the labor force as early as 18 years old, which will make the unemployment problem worse.” – Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan


MANILA – The law mandating 12 years of basic education has finally signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday, May 15. This despite reports of lack of modules and trainings for teachers as well as lack of classrooms, chairs, books and also teachers.

The RA 10533 or Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 also known as K-to-12 Act formalizes the additional two years to the previous 10-year basic education curriculum. It also mandates five year old children to enter Kindergarten before enrolling to grade one. The inclusion of kindergarten, grades one and seven was already implemented in the past school year even without a law.

The Department of Education has said it is currently preparing for the full implementation of K to 12 in 2016. In school year 2012-2013, the curriculums for grades one and seven were rolled out. By June of this year (school year 2013-2014), the curriculum for grades two and eight will be introduced.

Meanwhile, different groups have opposed the government’s implementation of the K to 12 since the beginning.

The College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) said the implementation of the law is a burden to students, teachers and parents with the additional two years of basic education.

The Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) fears that the number of school drop outs would increase.

“Mothers and parents could barely afford to send their children to school. And this is not just about making sure that no fees are collected this is also about parents needing to scrounge for their children’s food and transportation expenses. To add two more years in the basic education is not the solution. Many parents are already having difficulties sending their children to school,” said GWP Representative Emmi De Jesus adding that out of 100 children who enter grade one, only 14 finish grade six.

The Kabataan Partylist said the additional two years is two years of torture for the youth. The group estimated that families would have to shell out an additional P12,000 ($300) per year, on the average, in school fees, school requirements, allowances among others.

The youth group also pointed out the problems that surfaced when the K to 12 curriculum was initially implemented. “During the initial implementation of the K to 12, schools, teachers and parents were made to rush into new teaching modules which were untested and, due to the time, ineffective. Many youths were forced into home-school arrangements because of school shortages that have not even been addressed. Aquino is too concerned with his flagship program even at the expense of the youth’s future,” said Kabataan Partylist president Terry Ridon.

“And it is not just the students and the parents who are unable to accommodate two more years of education, our budget, school infrastructure and manpower also fall terribly short of what the K to 12 demands. In its initial implementation we have encountered problems of teachers having to work several more hours than what is required without the proper training, curriculum or orientation,” said Rep. Luz Ilagan.

The Gabriela solon also added that the government has failed to address the annual shortages in teachers, classrooms and textbooks. “The annual budget is already glaringly insufficient as it is. We fear that the K to 12 makes a bad situation worse. It is like prescribing the wrong pill.”

Rep. Raymond Palatino of Kabataan Partylist meanwhile explained “Aquino is signing a law concerned with the formative years of our children without waiting for a conclusive evaluation of the curriculum and its effects. I am a father of two children who will be affected by this program. And I am bothered, as a legislator and as a parent, that my children – our children – will face an educational system prescribed by world financial institutions to reorient the education system towards serving labor-export policies.”

In a statement, Anakbayan said the K to 12 program aims to produce semi-skilled workers to work abroad, an indicator that the Aquino government could not provide enough jobs for Filipinos in the Philippines. “The K to 12 program also serves the need of foreign countries, such as the US, for cheap labor from the third world thereby exploiting our laborers abroad,” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairman of Anakbayan.

“The K12 aims to produce cheaper, more ‘exploitable’ labor. The program is meant to ensure more ‘semi-skilled’ youths enter the labor force as early as 18 years old, which will make the unemployment problem worse. The net effect will be lower wages for workers,” he said adding that ultimately, this is an attack on labor and wages.

“Capitalists won’t give sufficient salaries to non-degree holder workers like what they are already doing right now. Hence, Filipino workers will be more exploited for being paid less than what they deserve,” said Andrew Zarate, spokesperson of Anakbayan-NCR.

Various youth groups are organizing protest actions this enrollment against Aquino’s K to 12 program. Kabataan Partylist also vowed to continue the campaign against the K to 12 program this school year.

The group further said that, “the government failed to address the shortages in school facilities and teachers yet they pushed for K to 12. Aquino’s option to go with a faster process to address the unemployment problem while abandoning education is no different from the 2013 fraudulent elections: fast, deceptive and unreliable.” (

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  1. Supreme Court of the Philippines: Assail the Passage of RA 10533

    There are discrepancies in the “Joint Explanation of the Conference Committee on the Disagreeing Provisions of Senate Bill No. 3286 and House Bill No. 6643” found in Senate Journal No. 52 dated 30 January 2013 and the signed RA 10533.

    “The Speaker and the President may withdraw their signatures from the signed bill where there is serious and substantial discrepancy between the text of the bill as deliberated in the legislature and shown by the journal and that of the enrolled bill. Such withdrawal renders the bill without attestation and nullifies its status as an enrolled bill. In such a case, the bill is no longer accorded absolute verity as regards its text and the entries in the journal should be consulted. And where the journal discloses that substantial amendments where introduced and approved but were not incorporated in the printed text sent to the President for signature, the court can declare that the bill has not been duly enacted and did not accordingly become a law.” [Ruben Agpalo, Statutory Construction]

    A brief and concise explanation of the discrepancies can be read at:


    RA 10533: Usurpation of Authority
    By Neil Honeyman

    An Independent View

    Sunstar Bacolod

    Sunday, May 26, 2013

    ‘RA 10533. An Act enhancing the Philippine basic education system by strengthening its curriculum and increasing the number of years for basic education.’

    In fact the Act does not strengthen the curriculum and I shall show later on how a potentially strengthened curriculum was negated via an untransparent process.

    We believe the curriculum embodied by the Act has been weakened by the late (grade 4) introduction of English. The Act speaks of global competitiveness. One of the areas where the Philippines enjoy global competitiveness is in the relatively good standard of English compared to, say, Indonesia.

    RA 10533 takes us backwards.


    RA 10533 uses the word ‘compulsory’ in the context of students attending kindergarten, six years of grade school, and, now, six years of high school. Prior to RA 10157 which introduced compulsory kindergarten, there were six grade school years of compulsory education. Now we have 13! No other country that I know of has 13 compulsory years.

    It is unrealistic.

    At present 33 percent of students do not complete grade school so ‘compulsory’ is an empty concept. What proportion of students will complete 13 compulsory years?


    I have read RA 10533. I have also read the associated House Bill 6643 and Senate Bill 3286. They are all significantly different from each other. Some Congressmen provided inputs to HB 6643 and some Senators on the Education Committee contributed to SB 3286. RA 10533 has been produced by unknown persons from some parts of HB 6643 and some parts of SB 3286. No Congressman or Senator has approved RA 10533. This is not how our legislation is supposed to be enacted. In fact, it is unconstitutional.

    One weakness of President Benigno Aquino III’s governance is the arrogation of power by the unelected Executive Branch to the detriment of the constitutionally enshrined authority of the legislative branch.

    What to do?

    We have three co-equal branches of government. In a situation where there may have been procedural flaws in passing legislation, then the third co-equal branch of government-the Judicial Branch-may be involved in ensuring that there have been no breaches of the Constitution. We believe, therefore, that the Supreme Court should examine whether or not RA 10533 is valid. We hope the Supreme Court takes on this task.

    I have also read Senate Journal No 52, dated 30 January 2013. The Journal contains the conference Committee Report on Senate Bill 3286 and House Bill 6643 which as I mentioned are very different from each other. The committee identified the disagreeing provisions of these bills. The conferees agreed to use the Senate version as the working draft. The committee then considered the disagreeing provisions. In some cases it accepted the Senate version and in other cases it accepted the House version. Various amendments were also proposed.

    The next step would have been to draft a Republic Act which incorporates the modifications agreed in Committee. The draft Republic Act would then be submitted to Senate and the House for approval. But this did not happen. Indeed RA 10533 is not consistent with the Conference Committee modifications of SB 3286 and HB 6643.

    For example, the Committee decided that Section 5 of HB 6643 was adopted as Section 5 of the reconciled Bill. This Section deals with Curriculum Development and RA 10533 omits many of the important paragraphs contained in the House Bill. For example, the House Bill states in Section 5 (f)

    ‘The curriculum shall be information, communications and technology (ICT)-based. It shall equip graduates with the necessary 21st century skills which include media and technology skills; learning and innovation skills; effective communication skills; and life and career skills. Mathematics and Science subjects shall be introduced as early as Grade 1. Science may be integrated with other subjects such as Mother Tongue, Mathematics, Health, and Araling Panlipunan.’

    This important section appears nowhere in RA 10533. We recall that DepEd Sec. Luistro in his past pronouncements has not supported Science in Grade 1. We find this unfortunate since young children are inquisitive about natural phenomena. It is via science that children can recognize that their schooling is compatible with real events.


    The Education Committee met last January 30. There was no opportunity for the full House and Senate to debate and, if agreed, approve the draft Bill. This is because the Bill was never drafted in Congress.

    Yet RA 10533 was signed and dated January 30 by House Speaker Belmonte and Senate President Enrile as though it had been through the complete processes.

    Congressmen and Senators were inappropriately sidelined. The proper procedures were short-circuited. The Bill was railroaded.

    Furthermore the president did not approve the Bill until May 15, two days after the election. He is supposed to sign or veto within 30 days.

    Was the time between January 30 and May 15 used to produce a Bill that is acceptable to the Department of Education? Are voters, therefore, wasting their time voting for congressmen and Senators whose good work will be sidelined by an unelected Executive Branch?

    Congress has been mistreated and we hope the incoming 16th Congress will, if necessary with Supreme Court approval, seek a proper re-evaluation of the contents of this Republic Act.

    Our children’s education is too important to be treated in this cavalier way.

    ‘Man, proud man, Drest in a little brief authority.’ –William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Measure for Measure act 2 sc 2 l. 117.

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