Press Release
March 7, 2015

Trillanes spearheads coalition for K-12 suspension

Senator Antonio "Sonny" F. Trillanes IV on Saturday headed the launching of the broad coalition, comprising of the members of the Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (COTESCUP), faculty, non-teaching staff, parents, labor unions and faculty associations, that seeks to convince government to shelve the controversial K to 12 program--citing the inadequate preparation of the country's educational system for the implementation of the new education program.

Trillanes, a known critic of the Program, who voted against RA 10533 (K to 12 Law) during the deliberations running up to the passage of the law said: "I have reviewed the policy environment, consulted various stakeholders, and conducted inspections of various schools nationwide," said the senator.

"Lumalabas sa lahat ng pagsusuring ito na hindi handa ang Pilipinas para sa K to 12. Sa halip, mas nararapat tawagin ang programang ito na K minus 12 (K-12) dahil sa mga probleang nakikita dito: Kakulangan sa PONDO; kakulangan sa KAGAMITAN; kakulangan sa CLASSROOM; kakulangan sa GURO; kakulangan sa PLANO; kakulangan sa PANAHON upang paghandaan ang implementasyon; kakulangan sa IMPORMASYON lalo na sa mga maaapektuhan sa malalayong lugar; kakulangan sa KONSULTASYON sa mga tunay na maaapektuhan ng Programa; kakulangan sa KOORDINASYON sa mga ibang sangay ng gobyerno at pribadong sekto; kakulangan sa OPORTUNIDAD para sa mga high school na agarang kailangan makahanap ng trabaho; kakulangan sa KAKAYANAN ng mga magulang na magpa-aral pa ng dagdag 2 taon sa high school; at kakulangan sa PUSO."

(The conclusion that can be drawn after going over all the facts is that the Philippines is not ready for K to 12. At this point it is more appropriate to call this the K MINUS 12 program because of the problems besetting the program: inadequate resources, inadequate tools, inadequate classrooms, inadequate teachers, inadequate preparation and planning, inadequate time to prepare for its implementation, inadequate information dissemination among its stakeholders, inadequate consultations among affected sectors, inadequate coordination between the government and private sectors, inadequate opportunities for those who will graduate from the program, inadequate capacity of parents to send children for additional 2 years in highschool, and inadequate heart.)

The Coalition for K to 12 Suspension, headed by Professor Rene Luis Tadle, said that it was formed because "based on the consultations we conducted, we found out that the country's education system is woefully ill-prepared for this program." The academic added that the majority of the country's high schools did not have enough classrooms and facilities to accommodate "the additional number of students as a result of this program" and added that K to 12 was "an additional burden for our already grossly underpaid teachers."

"Even most of the parents are not aware of the details of this program, including the financial burden it would bring them."

In the manifesto prepared by the group, grounds for the suspension of the Program were cited, foremost was what it said was the government's failure to "afford protection to labor" due to the 56,771 out of 111,351 college teachers and 22,838 non-teaching staff who face the risk of losing their jobs as a result of the dramatic decline in the number of college enrollees starting Academic Year 2016-2017.

The Coalition is preparing to conduct an aggressive nationwide information campaign through various media which will culminate in a massive protest scheduled on 9 May 2015, at Luneta Park in Manila. They will soon file a petition in the Supreme Court to ask for its suspension.

"We must work together and let our voices be heard by PNoy and the Supreme Court. Our goal is to make them realize that our country doesn't need the K to 12 Program and the people cannot afford it," Trillanes further explained.

"The present system worked for the earlier generations, and there is no reason why it shouldn't work for the present crop of students. We just need to fill in the shortages in classrooms, teachers, desks, and books; and increase the salaries of teachers."

Under the K to 12 Program, two more years, referred to as Senior high school, will be added to the current education system. The new system covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education: six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School.

During Senior High School, students are expected to specialize on the areas or career tracks they want to pursue, which include: Academic; Technical-Vocational-Livelihood; and Sports and Arts. The Academic track includes three strands: Business, Accountancy, Management (BAM); Humanities, Education, Social Sciences (HESS); and Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM).

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