The Supreme Court en banc has promulgated its decision on October 9, 2018, 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.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education
 Council of Teachers and Staff of Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (COTESCUP), et al. Vs. Secretary of Education, et al./Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera (Pambansang Alagad ng Sining at Professor Emeritus, UP), et al. Vs. Pangulong Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III, et al./Antoniio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV, et al. Vs. Hon. Paquito N. Ochora, Jr., et al./Eduardo R. Arlicias, Jr. and Aurelio P. Ramos, Jr. Vs. Department of Education and The Secretary of the Deped/Richard Troy A. Colmenares, et al. Vs. Department of Education Secretary Armin A. Luistro, et al./Congressman Antonio Tinio, et al. Vs. President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III, et al./Ma. Dolores Brillates, et al. Vs. President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, et al.