Aquino Should NOT Let Enhanced Basic Education Act Repeal Rizal Law

Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal

In 1956, Republic Act 1425, otherwise known as the Rizal Law, came into being in spite of stiff opposition from some senators, congressmen, interest groups and the Catholic Church. On December 26, 1994, Fidel V. Ramos, President of the Republic of the Philippines, signed Memorandum 247 directing “the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports and the Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education to take steps to immediately and fully implement the letter, intent and spirit of Republic Act No. 1425 and to impose, should it be necessary, appropriate disciplinary action against the governing body and/or head of any public or private school, college or university found not complying with said law and the rules, regulations, orders and instructions issued pursuant thereto.”

But, in one fell swoop, the consolidated version of SNB-3286 and HBN-6643 (otherwise known as the Enhance Basic Education Act) passed by both houses of Congress will, if approved by the President or allowed to lapse into law, repeal, among other laws, Republic Act 1425 (the Rizal Law), under its “SEC. 16. Repealing Clause. – Pertinent provisions of Batas Pambansa Bilang 232 or the Education Act of 1982 , Republic Act No. 9155 or the Governance of Basic Education Act of 2011, Republic Act No. 9258, Republic Act No. 7836, Republic Act No. 1425 or the inclusion in the College Curricula, The Life, Works and Writings of Jose Rizal, and all other laws, decrees, executive orders and rules and regulations contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.”

RA 1425 provides in its Sec. 1 that “Courses on the life, works and writings of Jose Rizal, particularly his novel Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, shall be included in the curricula of all schools, colleges and universities, public or private: Provided, That in the collegiate courses, the original or unexpurgated editions of the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo of their English translation shall be used as basic texts.”

What is odd and downright stupid is that the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2012 (K to 12) is, to repeat, going to repeal “Republic Act No. 1425 or the inclusion in the College Curricula, The Life, Works and Writings of Jose Rizal, and all other laws, decrees, executive orders and rules and regulations contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this Act…” Say what? Repeal that provision of RA 1425 or the “inclusion in the College Curricula, The Life, Works and Writings of Jose Rizal”? And I thought the Enhanced Basic Education Act was intended for K to 12. Then why is the proposed law going to even wander into the domain of the College Curricula?

Now even assuming that our congressmen and senators had a major brain freeze and that they really meant repealing RA 1425 or the inclusion of The Life, Works and Writings of Jose Rizal in the “curricula of all schools, colleges and universities, public or private“, are they now telling us that these same proponents of Enhanced K to 12 are backing down from one of their favorite arguments that the increased number of years for the basic education cycle is to “decongest” what we have in our old 10-year basic education system? Whoa, by “decongestion” they mean not only adding more time to the education cycle, they also mean eliminating an all-too-important course on the life, works and writings of Jose Rizal. Our initial fear that they are going to dumb down the curricula is really not without basis.

RA 1425 (the Rizal Law) is there to remind us that “there is a need for a re-dedication to the ideals of freedom and nationalism for which our heroes lived and died… that in honoring them, particularly the national hero and patriot, Jose Rizal, we remember with special fondness and devotion their lives and works that have shaped the national character… (and that) the life, works and writings of Jose Rizal, particularly his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, are a constant and inspiring source of patriotism with which the minds of the youth, especially during their formative and decisive years in school, should be suffused.” What on earth is wrong with our lawmakers that they have to have the Enhanced Basic Education Act repeal those important reminders to keep our national self-respect, uphold our love of country and our countrymen? Now, you, dear reader, understand why I reprinted in the immediately preceding post that thing about the so-called “Korean Essay”. Re-read the essay and then realize that our Enhanced Basic Education Act will soon repeal the all-important Rizal Law. Whatever remains of the same elements, as chronicled in this Wikipedia account, who steadfastly opposed RA 1425 more than half a century ago appear to have reared their ugly heads on Congress in the consideration of the Enhanced Basic Education Act (K to 12) and they may still have their wish.


8 thoughts on “Aquino Should NOT Let Enhanced Basic Education Act Repeal Rizal Law

  1. Joe Padre: All Filipinos — lawmakers, educators, politicians, policy-makers, etc. — must ask the questions: Are Rizal’s ideas still relevant and applicable to current social, cultural, political, and economic challenges in the Philippines? Will Rizal’s works — Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo and other essays — inspire and motivate the youth to aspire for Filipino nationalism, patriotism, and pride, even for true democracy and social justice? My answer to both questions is YES!

  2. I took Philippine Institutions 100 almost half a century ago and I do feel lucky that the professor who taught the course was not one who was literally interpreting the whole thing to us; he was a Filipino-Chinese but he understood the purpose of PI 100 fully and succeeded, I must say, in making us understand Rizal, especially Rizal’s intention through his works and writings, notably the Noli and Fili, to make us feel fiercely and shamelessly proud of ourselves, our fellow countrymen, our country and our heritage. That’s why, in spite of the fact that I’ve lived more than 40 years in this foreign place some 10,000 miles from my country’s shores, I still feel proud to think and write and feel for the country of my birth, it’s diverse culture and I do care for it in my own humble way in almost the same manner that Rizal, in his patriotic and selfless and wondrous forward thinking, would have wanted.

    • And so, I do feel deeply threatened and forever saddened that our lawmakers allowed (under pressure, I’m inclined to believe, of the old vested interests like the Catholic Church) Republic Act 1425 (Rizal Law) to be included in the Repealing Clause of the enhanced Basic Education Act which should be awaiting the President’s signature by now. Take away the Rizal Law and the foundation of most civics lesson, pagkakatao, etc., becomes as strong as a house of cards. And we go back to that alleged “Korean Essay” about what the real problems of Filipinos are — not the corruption, the Korean says, but our lack of love for who we are and our heritage, lack of love for our fellow countrymen, etc. I think those folks in Congress should get a re-reading of the Korean Essay more often…

  3. What’s delaying enactment of education reform bill

    This is probably what is delaying signing the education reform bill into law. I’m not into conspiracy theories but it seems that someone with an agenda mangaged to insert a clause in the bill repealing the mandatory teaching of Rizal courses. clever. The prankster was able to ride on the efforts for reform. Just as we were able to insert our mother tongue
    agenda, these unknown cabal managed to insert a clause repealing teaching of the Rizal courses. As a result the entire bill could be endangered.

    I did not comment as it was beneficial to us, but the fourth reading was waived at the Senate by acclamation. Some would say that is rail-roading. This is why this email is in this confidential UNT forum and not in the DILA public forum.

  4. 1. The typical 4-year college degree program in the Philippines is already too full-packed and should be decongested of subjects that can well be taken up in the Senior High School. Degree programs should concentrate on professional training and should be shorn of remedial or General Education subjects that should not duplicate the G.E. Program in college (making it unnecessarily long) not only to make it less costly but also to enable it to concentrate in professional training as in other K-12 countries where the typical degree program is only of 3-year duration (no G.E. program).

    2. If we do not restructure higher education programs to shorter duration, then, from having one of the shortest in the world, we will end up as one of the few educational systems with the longest stretch of formal education, something that families can ill afford.

    3. The K-12-dovetailed national G.E. Program which consists of 75 units and takes 2 years or more to complete has been revised and re-oriented in view of K-12. Spread over the envisioned 3 or four years, the 35-unit G.E. Program is designed not to be remedial for most students but to give them a multifaceted (globally-oriented and nationally-rooted) competencies and preparation needed by professionals in the 21st century.

    4. Graduates of Senior High School have the option to join the world of work. And many parents, indeed, especially those from poor families, would like to see their children to be immediately job-ready. Will it not be fair and imperative if young Filipinos who do not go to college and decide to work, are already well-imbued with the teachings and ideals of Rizal by teaching them the course in the terminal parts of their basic education. Psychology and age-wise (at age 17 or 18) they can better learn and appreciate and apply Rizal and what he lived and died for.

  5. It is disheartening to know that Jose Rizal’s sacrifices in the interest of Philippine patriotism, selflessness, the struggle against injustices and the never ending pursuit of better education for Filipinos should be placed in dormancy if the Rizal law is repealed. It is to my thinking that its relevance even in today’s standards will always be a relevant activity in our country. Rizal’s teachings and ingenuity infused in the school curriculum is not a decongestant of school accouterments but an enhancement of basic education keeping alive the spirit of loyalty to country.

    • You’re right on the money on this one. It mystifies the mind that those elements of our society who were or are affronted by Rizal’s bold but honest exposure thru his writings of the abuses, indignities, injustices several generations of Filipinos suffered during that part of our history would not think twice to banish him by the repeal of the Rizal Law (RA 1425). These anti-Rizal elements are no different from the apologists and supporters of another reprehensible episode in history: the Holocaust.

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