Advocates of Filipino and literature assert: ‘retain Filipino and literature in college’

Photo by the Manila Collegian

Tanggol Wika and the Manila Science High School filed motions for reconsideration on the SC decision to lift the TRO on the removal of Filipino as part of core subjects.


MANILA – Nationalists will not give up the fight to retain Filipino and literature as core subjects in college. Last Monday, Nov. 26, students, professors and patriots showed their support for these subjects to stay in college as the Alyansa ng Mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino (Tanggol Wika) filed a motion for reconsideration against the Supreme Court (SC) decision to lift the temporary restraining order against Commission on Higher Education’s (Ched) Memorandum Order 20 series of 2013.

The SC has recently dismissed the consolidated petitions filed by the academe, students, teachers and other groups against the K to 12 program or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 of the administration of Benigno Aquino III. In the same decision, the high court also lifted the temporary restraining order on CMO 20 which excludes Filipino and literature subjects in college, upheld the Kindergarten Education Act as well as other related issuances of the Department of Education (DepEd), Ched, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) implementing the K to 12 program.

For one, the SC decision stated that “Section 6, Article XIV on the use of the Filipino language as a medium of instruction is also not self-executory.”

In its motion, Tanggol Wika asserted that it is self-executing as the “entirety of the Constitution is still presumed to be self-executory.”

“Exceptions to that rule must be declared only with extreme caution and as a last resort in order to prevent the wrong impression that there are, as Justice Leonen puts it in his dissent, ‘second-order rights.’ Exceptions, where declared, must also be limited and strictly construed against government and more favorably interpreted in favor of the rights denigrated,” the motion read.

Tanggol Wika also said claims that Filipino subjects in college will only duplicate as it is being taken by students in elementary and high school has no factual basis. It stated that Filipino subjects have been previously required by Ched in CMO No. 54 series of 2007 which are: Filipino I (Komunikasyon sa Akademikong Filipino), Filipino II (Pagbasa at Pagsulat Tungo sa Pananaliksik) and Filipino III (Masining na Pagpapahayag).

“Petitioners showed in their Petition that when Filipino in the core curriculum of basic education (senior and junior high school, in particular) is put side-by-side with Filipino in the general education curriculum at the tertiary level, it can be seen that there are matters covered in the latter which are not covered in the former,” the motion read.

Photo by the Manila Collegian

The petitioners also argued that mathematics and the natural and social sciences subjects which are also already part of the basic education curriculum also remained in the general education (GE) curriculum in the tertiary level. But not Filipino which was totally eliminated in college.

Manila Science High School also filed a motion for reconsideration

Meanwhile parents, students and teachers of Manila Science High School (MSHS) who also questioned the constitutionality of the K to 12 program filed their motion for reconsideration on Nov. 27.

The SC decision said that “There is no conflict between the K to 12 Law and the right of due process of the students.” According to the decision, the law’s declaration of policy reveals that “objectives of the law serve the interest of the public and not only of a particular class.” The decision also said that the objective of the law is to be at par with international standards as there are only three countries, including the Philippines, in the world with a 10-year basic education system.

The petitioner’s counsel, Severo Brillantes countered that not all Filipinos “need a globally competitive education or one at par with international standards.”

He pointed out that this is why they argued that the law only served the interest of the few and not the public. He said not all Filipinos will apply for graduate school admission to a foreign university or for professional work in a foreign corporation. He added that only those who will seek those will supposedly need the additional years of basic education.

“But why burden each and every Filipino student with additional two years of senior high school, when it is not the dream of everyone either to study or work abroad and thus the need to meet international standards? It should be asked in the very first place, what is our dream for our people? To be ‘perennial OFWs’?

He also said the country needs mathematicians, scientists or engineers for its development. Students of the MSHS should have been given a chance to pursue college education as they are not “trained for immediate employment after high school” but to pursue tertiary education.

Petitioners also argued that MSHS students, given their higher mental capabilities, do not need additional two years of senior high school. They argued, “to require them to take the additional two years of senior high school, more so with a more inferior curriculum, is clearly most arbitrary, unfair, oppressive, discriminatory and unreasonable and thus violative of their right to substantive due process.”

Brillantes reiterated that poverty, insufficient books, teachers and schools are factors why quality of education is becoming poor. Such factors should be addressed and not the additional two years of education that is a burden to the Filipino students and their parents. (

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