Return April-May school break next year and please abolish K to 12  | Inquirer Opinion
Sharp Edges

Return April-May school break next year and please abolish K to 12 

/ 05:16 AM April 02, 2024

Today’s dangerous heat indexes sweltering the entire country clearly demands the immediate return of all our students to the traditional and time-tested June to March school year earlier than 2026 instead of the present August -May schedule.  

This “experiment” started in 2014, with then DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro pushing for the shift, citing as main reason the high number of suspended class days during typhoons and climate related disasters. Also, he argued that we need to align our August school opening with other nations to promote international academic exchanges. But during its ten years of implementation, bigger problems emerged as classes during summer months led to dehydration and heat strokes of students and faculty. Plus, the expected international exchange students’ programs miserably failed.  Today, DepEd has moved for the return to the old June March school year by 2026-2027. 

I could not resist mentioning another famous Pnoy administration shift, the K to 12 program that started 2012 which promised and failed to produce job-ready graduates after two years of Senior High School (SHS).  The program was envisioned to enhance learners’ basic skills and produce more competent citizens ready for lifelong learning and employment. But today, after twelve years, a lot of people are clamoring for its immediate abolition for the simple reason that it did not improve our “students” and in effect “disrupted” their families ‘progress with the added burden of two years on our ten-year curriculum.


These are monumental “failed experiments” of our educational system that affected every Filipino and family in the past years. So much of our time, money and effort going kaput. 


And the question now: Who then should the people make accountable?  (next) 

2024 US Trade report tags corrupt Customs and Judges engaged in bribery 

“Corruption is a pervasive and longstanding problem in the Philippines. National and local government agencies, particularly the Bureau of Customs, are beset with various corruption issues”. 

This came from a US National Trade Estimate Report released March 29 that said corruption and irregularities in customs processing are widespread despite the agency’s modernization in 2021. It cited incidents of undue and costly delays, irregularities in the valuation process, 100 percent inspection and testing of some products, and inconsistent assessment of fees. 

The NTE report also cited the continued inclusion of Manila’s Greenhills Shopping Center in the 2023 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy. While the Philippines has been out of Watch List of the Special 301 Report since 2014, issues with online piracy and sales of counterfeit goods, including apparel, shoes, watches, jewelry, perfume, and electronics continue. 

These allegations came as the Marcos administration thru Finance Secretary Ralph Recto set a very high collection target this year. Earlier, BOC commissioner Bienvenido Rubio was bragging on his 2023 record-breaking P883.6 B collection. And for this year, he was pushing for a high P959-B target, but he was ordered by Recto instead to produce P1 Trillion pesos. Rubio is credited for establishing the Customs Industry Consultative Council (CICC) with the business sector to address Customs and industry matters. 


On the matter of corruption of judges, the NTE report noted foreign and domestic investors’ concern about the lack of transparency in our judicial and regulatory processes. It said investors are concerned about courts being influenced by bribery and judges improperly issuing temporary restraining orders (TROs) to impede legitimate commerce. Other stakeholders decry slow prosecution and conviction of cases.

But the Supreme Court maintains it is cracking the whip on corruption and unethical behavior in the bar and the judiciary. In a recent decision, the High Court  dismissed former Presiding Judge Edralin Reyes of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 43 of Roxas City in Mindoro Oriental for gross misconduct for soliciting money and fraternizing with lawyers in violation of the New Code of Judicial Conduct. Also disbarred was a customs lawyer  who defrauded the buyer of a car confiscated by the government. 

The NTE report is correct in many ways, but we need their specifics including the names of these corrupt Customs men and judges. (next) 

LTFRB decision on  motorcycle taxis out next month

After five long years, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LFTRB) will finally end  its pilot study on motorcycle taxi services  this  May, and submit  recommendations to Congress on proposed regulations  for final approval.

Around 51,000 motorcycle taxis were allotted to operators Angkas, Joyride and Move it , while an additional 8,000 units was added  after which  LTFRB Chairman Teofilo Guadiz stopped its further expansion.   The five year delay of the motorcycle stud  has allowed the operation of these vehicles in Metro Manila without necessary government transport franchise, leaving the commuters and riders to possible risks and non-compensation.

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The drafting of recommendations will surely trigger a flurry of “back channeling” and “lobbying”, first within the  study group headed by Chairman Guadiz and onto the major “politicos” in both houses of Congress. Remember that  we are about thirteen months  before the midterm elections  next year, and  the motorcycle taxi sector is a powerful “vote magnet” that will be harnessed by politicians.  Let’s observe how the seven reelectionist senators Imee Marcos , Bong Go, Bato de la Rosa, Bong Revilla, Francis Tolentino, Lito Lapid and Pia Cayetano will use  this issue. But the bigger  reveal here will be in the thirty three congressmen of  Metro Manila in the Lower House. Since the LTFRB  study group will initially  focus in NCR, these competing motorcycle taxi companies will definitely  concentrate on lobbying for the support of their neighborhood “politico”. Yes , these reelectionist congressmen will have very happy days once again but at our  expense , commuters and  riders of these motorcycle taxis. 


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