​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte makes factually inaccurate joke about K to 12

His remarks might have been made in jest, but President Rodrigo Duterte in a 27-minute speech at San Beda University’s commencement exercises May 29 made an inaccurate quip about education policy.


Diverting from his prepared speech, the president told the crowd his daughter Veronica “Kitty” Duterte complained about the K to 12 program and blamed education secretary Leonor Briones about it:

“Sabihin mo ano man nakain niya? Bakit hinabaan niya itong kurso naming K-12? (Can you ask her what crossed her mind? Why did she have to prolong basic education with K to 12?)”

Source: Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the commencement exercises of San Beda University, May 29, 2018, watch from 17:57 to 18:33

The president drew laughter and applause, but did not correct her daughter.


The Enhanced Basic Educational Program Act of 2013 more popularly known as the K to 12 Program was enacted into law under the watch of former education secretary Bro. Armin Luistro and former president Benigno S. Aquino III.

The K to 12 program covers 13 years of basic education, which includes at least one year of kindergarten education, six years of elementary education, four years of junior high school, and two years of senior high school.

The Philippines is the last country in Asia to abandon the 10-year basic education program. The K to 12 cycle is the recognized standard for basic education program globally. Crafters of the program believe it provides sufficient time to prepare graduates for tertiary education, skills development, employment and entrepreneurship.


K to 12 General Information, Department of Education

What is K to 12 program?, The Official Gazette

Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the commencement exercises of San Beda University

Republic Act No. 10533

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)