DepEd Order No. 16, s. 2012: God and the Devil in the details

As a part of that ragtag, passionate but forward-looking advocacy group that campaigned for the landmark DepEd Order No. 74 s. 2009 (DO 74) which institutionalized Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE), I can’t deny the fact that seeing DepEd Order No. 16 s. 2012 (DO 16) was an awesome Oh-my-God moment — DO 16 actually spells out the implementation of DO 74 starting SY 2012-2013! Of course, how DO 16 will pan out is another story…

We fervently hope DO 16 is not just a proforma/lip service compliance to Policy Recommendation 3.5 of the UNESCO (Bangkok) 2010 document, “Reaching the Unreached in Education in Asia-Pacific to Meet the EFA Goals by 2015: A Commitment to Action“, which states, among other things:

Policy recommendation 3.5 – Develop and implement comprehensive policy on mother tongue-based multilingual literacy programmes (with appropriate financial allocation)

Strategy 3.5.E – Develop/implement policy and comprehensive strategies for mother tongue-based multilingual literacy programmes (with appropriate financial allocation). The recommended actions are:

  • Raise the awareness of governments and communities on the benefits of mother tongue-based literacy programmes
  • Allocate adequate resources to promote mother tongue-based literacy programmes
  • Facilitate communities to create culturally appropriate writing systems

Anyway, the most important parts of DO 16 are:

  • Starting School Year (SY) 2012-2013, the Mother Tongue-Based-Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) shall be implemented in all (emphasis ours) public schools, specifically in Kindergarten, Grades 1, 2 and 3 as part of the K to 12 Basic Education Program.
  • Each language (out of the 12 listed hereunder) determined to be the Mother Tongue or major language or lingua franca for any given language area or region shall be offered as a learning area and utilized as language of instruction starting SY 2012-2013:
    1. Tagalog
    2. Kapampangan
    3. Pangasinense
    4. Iloko
    5. Bikol
    6. Cebuano
    7. Hiligaynon
    8. Waray
    9. Tausug
    10. Maguindanaoan
    11. Maranao
    12. Chabacano
  • A complement team of MTB-MLE trainers for each region composed of education supervisors coming from the different divisions has been organized.

To avoid any mispronouncement, we reprint the entire Enclosure to DepEd Order No. 16, s. 2012



A. Objectives

The Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) aims to develop the following areas:

  1. language development which establishes a strong education for success in school and for lifelong learning;
  2. cognitive development which focuses on Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS);
  3. academic development shich prepares the learner to acquire mastery of competencies in each of the learning areas; and
  4. socio-cultural awareness which enhances the pride of the learner’s heritage, language and culture.

B. Areas of Focus

The MTB-MLE shall be implemented in two (2) modes: as a learning/subject area and as a medium of instruction. The Mother Tongue (MT) as a subject will focus on the development of beginning reading and fluency from Grades 1 to 3. The learners’ Mother Tongue (L1) shall be used as the medium of instruction (MOI) in all domains/learning areas from Kindergarten through Grade 3 except Filipino (L2) and English (L3). The L1 will continuously be used as MOI in a transition or bridging process (L1-L2-L1 or L2-L1-L2) through Grade 3.

The L2 will be introduced in the first semester of Grade 1 for oral fluency and reading and writing will be introduced in the 2nd semester of Grade 1. The four (4) macro skills, namely: listening, speaking, reading, and writing will continuously be developed from Grades 2-6.

Oral fluency in L3 will be introduced in the 2nd semester of Grade 1, while reading and writing in L3 will start in the 1st semester of Grade 2. The four (4) macro-skills will be developed starting 2nd semester of Grade 2 until Grade 6.

C. Teaching and Learning Process

The MT shall be used as MOI in any of the following models:

Model 1: Ideally, the Kindergarten or Grade 1 class shall be taught in the children’s MT which has been modeled in public schools. The MTs include the eight (8) major languages (LF) [namely, Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Iloko, Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Waray] and four (4) others namely: Tausug, Maguindanaoan, Maranao, and Chabacano.

Model 2: In schools where there are three (3) or more MTs or variations of the LF without an approved orthography spoken by the pupils, the Lingua Franca in that area shall be used as the MOI. Special classes offering the children’s MT may be held twice a week if a teacher is available for the development of oral fluency. The oral fluency skills shall be bridged to any of the LF languages and the four (4) other languages cited above in the development of reading and writing.

When an approved orthography of the MT is available and learning resources have been developed with trained teachers, the schools are encouraged to use the desired MT. In such situation, the school head (SH) shall inform the Division Office (DO) so that technical assistance could be provided and learning resources could be evaluated to meet the national standards for learning resources.

D. Teachers’ Training and Development

The existing MTB-MLE regional training team organized for the model schools shall be the same team that will be responsible for the division and school-based training of teachers on the MTB-MLE for the K to 12 Basic Education Program (BEP). The members shall be expanded to include trainers in the Kindergarten. All of these teachers shall have undergone not only the Training of Trainers (TOT) for MLE but also the K to 12 BEP.

E. Preparation of Learning Resources

The Regions, divisions and schools MTB-MLE trained writers shall continuously update their knowledge and skills in the development of indigenized materials thus, providing the students with variety of learning resources. These learning resources shall be submitted to:

Dr. Socorro A. Pilor
Executive Director
Instructional Materials Council Secretariat (IMCS)
DepEd Central Office
5/F Mabini Bldg., DepEd Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City
Mobile Phone Nos.: 0927-793-7331; 0928-696-0132
TeleFax Nos.: (02) 634-0901; (02) 631-3690; (2) 631-4985
E-mail Addresses:;

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