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SC junks petitions seeking to stop K to 12 program

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(Photo from Philippine Star)


MANILA ― The Supreme Court (SC) En Banc on Tuesday dismissed several petitions seeking to stop the implementation of the Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K to 12) program.


In a press conference, SC Public Information Office (PIO) Chief and Spokesman Atty. Theodore O. Te said that "the Court denied the prayer for issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction."


Among others, the petitioners were the Council for Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines, Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV, Eduardo R. Alicias, Richard Troy A. Colmenares, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio and Ma. Dolores Brillantes.


Likewise, a coalition of teachers, students, parents and various organizations has asked the SC to act on their almost a year-old petition against the K-12 program, a national 12-year basic education program.


In an urgent manifestation, Coalition of K-12 whose members include Council of Teachers and Staff of College and Universities of the Philippines (CoTeSCUP) told the SC that with the looming implementation of the program, some higher educational institutions (HEI) have transferred their faculty members to senior high school without certainty if their wages will be reduced or not while other faculty members are in danger of losing their jobs.


The petitioners attached a Jan. 16, 2016 memorandum from St. Louis University and a letter dated Aug. 28, 2015 from the University of Santo Tomas (UST).


They indicated that there were school officials and employees that would be retrenched following the implementation of the K-12 program.


In UST, faculty members who wish to transfer from tertiary level to Senior High School need to undergo retooling seminars with a warning that failure to attend the seminar would mean forfeiture of any teaching slot in the Senior High School.


"These are contrary to the rights to security of tenure and academic freedom of HEI faculty members. These are also contrary to the principle of non-diminution of benefits in Article 100 of the Labor Code. These also violate the HEI faculty members' rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining," the petitioners told the SC.


The petitioners argued that retrenchment was only the last resort.


"Again, this violates the rights to security of tenure and to freedom of association and collective bargaining of the employees," the petitioners said.


In their original petition, the coalition already mentioned the possibility of loss of jobs, contractualization, forced retirement and constructive dismissal.


The petitioners added that Republic Act No. 10533, or the "Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013", or the law which gave birth to K-12 failed to give "full protection to labor and promotion of full employment and equality of employment opportunities" as stated under the Constitution.

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