Supreme Court’s Final Ruling: Filipino and Panitikan, Not Required in College

The Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines issued a final ruling that Filipino and Panitikan or Philippine Literature can be excluded as core subjects in college.

It is after the petitioners failed to present substantive arguments that will change the justices’ earlier decision on October 9, 2018 regarding the exclusion of Filipino and Panitikan as core subjects in college.

Supreme Court clerk of court Edgar Aricheta said,

“No further pleadings or motions shall be entertained in this case. Let entry of final judgment be issued immediately.”

On October 9, 2018, the SC ruled that CHED’s memorandum that reduced the general education (GE) curriculum to a minimum of 36 units was valid. Moreover, the judiciary also said that CHED Memorandum No. 20 Series of 2013 has considered Filipino and Panitikan as no longer part of the core subjects.

The Alyansa ng Mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino, on their part, filed a motion for reconsideration claiming that the inclusion of the study of Filipino and the Constitution in the curriculum in all levels is mandated by the Constitution itself. Hence, CHED Memorandum No.20, Series of 2013 did not comply with the provision after it removed the study of these subjects under the General Education at the tertiary level.

As an answer to the petitioners, the justices stated that,

“the mandate was general and did not specify the educational level in which it must be taught”, referring to the Filipino and Panitikan subjects as being part of the curriculum of educational institutions.

The ruling also added that,

“CMO 20 did not violate the Constitution when it merely transferred these subjects as part of the curriculum of primary and secondary education.”

The text below contains CHED’s statement regarding Supreme Court’s Decision on the removal of Filipino from the New General Education Curriculum

The Supreme Court en banc has promulgated its decision on October 9, 2018[1], upholding among others, the constitutionality of the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) Memorandum Order No. 20, series of 2013 also known as the “General Education Curriculum Holistic Understandings, Intellectual and Civic Competencies,” which excluded the study of Filipino, Panitikan, and the Philippine Constitution as core subjects.

In determining the constitutionality of CMO No. 20, Series of 2013, the Supreme Court stated three salient points. First, that under Section 13 of R.A. 7722, CHED is authorized to determine the (a) minimum unit requirements for specific academic programs; (b) general education distribution requirements as may be determined by the Commission; and (c) specific professional subjects as may be stipulated by the various licensing entities. Second, that the study of Filipino, Panitikan and the Constitution are actually found in the basic education curriculum from Grades 1 to 10 and Senior High School pursuant to the K-12 Law. The changes in the GE curriculum were implemented to ensure that there would be no duplication of subjects in Grades 1 to 10, Senior High School and College. Third, that in the tertiary level, nothing in the stated laws require that Filipino and Panitikan must be included as subjects, and that the study of Filipino can easily be included as courses of study in the tertiary level, if Higher Education Institutions decide to do so. Hence, CMO No. 20, Series of 2013 was found to be constitutional and did not violate any other laws.

The K to 12 Law was enacted in 2013 to enable basic education graduates to gain mastery of core competencies and skills. K to 12 graduates are expected to be university-ready. To be university-ready, graduates of the basic education curriculum should have taken Filipino, Panitikan and the Constitution. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) may enhance these competencies by including additional subjects in Filipino, Panitikan or integrate these into existing subjects in their curriculum.

CMO No. 20, Series of 2013 was issued on June 28, 2013. None of the current CHED commissioners were in office at that time and therefore were not privy to the context and discussions that were the basis for the CHED Memorandum.

News reports indicate that the groups opposed to the Supreme Court decision may be filing their motions for reconsideration. The CHED respects this decision and will wait for the Supreme Court to decide finally on the issue.

The Commission will continue to uphold the rule of law, study the issues raised by education stakeholders and await the final decision of the Supreme Court.

Commission on Higher Education

Sources/Credits: CHED / PhilStar

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