Palace leaves K-12 review, speakership issues 'to the wisdom of Congress'
Malacañang in an Oct. 21, 2019 press briefing said that it does not plan to interfere with the House of Representatives’ review of the K-12 basic education program as well as the term-sharing agreement between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco.
Screengrab, Presidential Communications Operations Office

Palace leaves K-12 review, speakership issues 'to the wisdom of Congress'

Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - October 21, 2019 - 7:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang in a Monday press briefing said that it will not interfere in the House of Representatives' review of the K-12 basic education program or the term-sharing agreement between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig) and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte does not want to get involved in the activities of co-equal branches of government.

“We will leave it to the wisdom of Congress,” Panelo, asked to comment on the House’s review of K to 12, said.

Cayetano said the effectiveness of the 12-year basic education program will be assessed.

“We in the House are of the consensus that K to 12 is not living up to its promise, which is, after you finish senior high school, you don’t have to go to college. You gain skills to be employed,” Cayetano said.

Criticism of the K to 12 program includes the lack of response or prioritization of present educational obstacles such as the lack of classrooms, teachers, and equipment.

The additional two years of basic education have also been hit for increasing families’ educational expenses and for having no evidence or basis to suggest that it will contribute to a student’s success.


Panelo, asked on possible friction in the term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Velasco, also said that it's for members of Congress to settle.

Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. (Dasmariñas City) and other lawmakers earlier this month said that Cayetano’s high public approval ratings could affect the term-sharing agreement.

“If Speaker Cayetano sustains his good performance as shown by his high trust and approval ratings in the latest Pulse Asia quarterly report, there would be a groundswell among House members and the public for him to stay on,” Barzaga said.

The latest Pulse Asia survey found that Cayetano received 64% approval and 62% trust ratings. It is the first time that a House speaker obtained higher approval and trust ratings than Vice President Leni Robredo since she took office in 2016.

“They’re entitled to their perception – it may be true, it may not be true. But as far as the president is concerned, he does not want to interfere in any act or measure or activity in a co-equal branch,” Panelo said.

“The only reason why he (Duterte) made a proposal is because his suggestion was sought by those contending persons for the speakership.”

Under an agreement arranged by Duterte, Cayetano would hold the speakership for 15 months while Velasco would serve the remainder of the term after October next year.

“Since the election of the speaker has resulted in a bitter and fractious rivalry that threatens the break-up of political allies, the President, to save the unity of the alliance and avert its fragmentation, obliged to the request of the three candidates, who to their credit agree to respect the choice of [Duterte],” Panelo said in a July release.

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