After a series of teacher trainings and field testing have been conducted nationwide, the Public Education on the Rule of Law Advancement and Support (PERLAS) Teaching Exemplars on the Rule of Law were formally turned over to the Department of Education for integration into the basic education curriculum. PERLAS II aims to educate and inform the public, especially the students in public elementary and high schools, on the functioning of a society that is anchored on the justice system. It is a work in progress among DepEd, Supreme Court, Libertás (Lawyers’ League for Liberty), and funding institutions such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through The Asia Foundation (TAF), and the World Bank. DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said that PERLAS will help the department in upgrading the quality of education in the country. “When we say quality education, it should be the kind of education that goes beyond the lessons in mathematics, science, English, and other subjects. It should be something that will not only teach minds, but will also touch hearts and will mold the students into becoming responsible and law-abiding citizens.” He added that once finalized, PERLAS will be fully integrated in the elementary and secondary curricula. These teaching exemplars are lesson guides integrating concepts of The Rule of Law into subjects in the basic education curriculum. Specifically, PERLAS will use teaching and learning methods that are appropriate and relevant to the students’ respective learning competencies. Dennis Russell Baldago, Chief Judicial Reform Program Officer of the Supreme Court – Program Management Office, said that the teaching exemplars are the Judiciary’s own contribution to the country’s educational system. “The Supreme Court wanted a project that can further empower the Filipino youth and contribute to their socio-civic development by the understanding and observance of our laws. The PERLAS Project is a long-term investment for the children,” furthered Baldago. PERLAS-Phase 1 created a total of 100 model lesson plans on the Rule of Law for elementary (60) and high school (40), which was designed by curriculum writers from the DepEd and the University of the Philippines. These touch on a variety of topics centering on the basic concepts of The Rule of Law. Concepts such as gender equality, environmental sustainability, and citizens’ and indigenous peoples’ rights are also integrated. The lesson plans also emphasize on having a strong judicial system and the roles that all citizens should play to help make that system work. In the High School level, the PERLAS exemplars also teach the students the concept of citizens’ participation in governance processes, and the accountability of government institutions. According to Atty. Roberto Cadiz, Executive Director of Libertás, there is an urgent need for today’s youth to learn the Rule of Law. “Dapat maaga pa lang, maituro na sa mga kabataan ang pagrespeto sa batas. Nagiging kapansin-pansin sa ating lipunan na punong-puno tayo ng mga maling interpretasyon sa batas o kaya naman, maraming tao ang hindi gumagalang at nagrerespeto sa batas,” said Cadiz. He furthered that with this integration, “basic education can help the students develop the core values needed to establish a just society.” Also, a “Manual for High School Students” which discusses subjects ranging from the Philippine Legal System to the application of legal concepts was written by Atty. Racquel Ruiz-Dimalanta of Libertás for reference of teachers and students in the high school level. Initial teacher trainings on how to fully utilize the exemplars were also conducted. These were participated in by 112 teachers representing 82 schools from around the country, wherein 46 of which were from high school level and 66 were from elementary level. The exemplars were tested in 100 public schools in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Feedbacks based on the testing results were used in the revision and improvement of the exemplars. Lawyers from the Supreme Court and Libertás ensured the accuracy of the Exemplars’ legal contents while education experts reviewed the lesson plans in terms of their appropriateness and relevance to the basic education curriculum.