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executive orders and rules and regulations contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.”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.
UNLESS PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO III DELETES “Republic Act No. 1425 or the inclusion in the College Curricula, The Life, Works and Writings of Jose Rizal” FROM SEC. 16 OF THE REPEALING CLAUSE BEFORE AFFIXING HIS SIGNATURE TO THE ENHANCED BASIC EDUCATION ACT AS APPROVED BY BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS.