Various youth and student groups led by Anakbayan stormed the Department of Education (DepEd) Main Office in Pasig City yesterday, May 26, and began a two-day “camp-out protest” to show the government bureaucracy and president-elect Rodrigo Duterte the depth of public disgust against the K-12 program.
“Allowing K-12 to continue is like tolerating crime. This is not the change hoped for by many who voted for Duterte. Ang K-12 ay pabigat at pahirap sa ordinaryong pamilyang Pilipino. Ang oligarkiya na nagmamay-ari ng private schools lamang ang bebenipisyo,” said Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.
The youth group urged the incoming maverick president to hear the side of students, parents, and teachers instead of being fooled by the promoters of the K-12 program from the Aquino administration who are only out to ensure the profits of oligarchs in the school business at the expense of ordinary Filipinos.
“Many of the votes for Duterte were votes rejecting the K-12. Many supported Duterte’s stand against the Aquino administration’s flagship education program. Reversing his opposition to K-12 now will only be a betrayal of ordinary Filipino families who expected to be part of the change promised by a Duterte presidency,” he said.
While Duterte opposed the K-12 program during the campaign, he said the other day that he will change his position. “I said I was against it early on when it was being implemented. But some of the bright guys in DepEd came to see me here in Davao and explained to me how we are lagging behind our neighbors,” Duterte told the media.
“These ‘bright guys’ from DepEd apparently only told the incoming president good things about the K-12 program while leaving out problems like the acute shortages of teachers and facilities. They left out telling him that implementing K-12 will force many students to shift to private schools or just drop out from schooling,” said Crisostomo.
According to DepEd, only 800,000 to 1.1 million of 2 million incoming Senior High School students (SHS) can be accommodated by the country’s public school system. The remaining 800,000 to 1 million students will be forced to enroll in private schools through DepEd’s P12.2 billion budget SHS voucher program.
“The K-12 is a criminal program favouring oligarchs with the SHS program designed to ensure more enrolees for private schools and automatic profits in the form of vouchers. Fact is DepEd officials may already have received commissions from private school owners thus their insistence on pushing through the K-12 program,” said Crisostomo.