Sunday, 22 June 2014

"Wither Filipino?"

"Wither Filipino?"

(Or all after the debate after attempts omitting Filipino 
as part of tertiary education curriculum, and its insistence
in keeping the said subject and its relevance
to contemporary Filipino society)

"Wither Filipino?" This seemed to be a question to most Filipino students these days as the system ought to discontinue studying the National Language at tertiary level.

The issue, brought last week by the neoliberal-oriented Commission on Higher Education (CHED), had brought flak by members of "Tanggol Wika" or "Alyansa ng mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino" (Alliance of Filipino Language Defenders) in which in its statement is calling for the following:

1.) Panatilihin ang pagtuturo ng asignaturang Filipino sa bagong General Education Curriculum (GEC) sa kolehiyo 
(Retaining the teaching of Filipino subjects in the new GEC in college)

2.) Rebisahin ang Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum Order 20 serye 2013 (Revise CHED Memorandum Order 20 series of 2013)

3.) Gamitin ang wikang Filipino sa pagtuturo ng iba’t ibang asignatura
 (Use Filipino as a medium of instruction in different subjects)

4.)Isulong ang makabayang edukasyon
 (Push for nationalistic education)

The alliance, and its statement being presented was formally introduced during a consultative assembly last Saturday after weeks of public clamor over a 2013 CHED memorandum 20 in which introduced a new curriculum that will be implemented in school year 2018-2019.
According to CHED, the new curriculum is made to accommodate DepED's k12 program, in which it is rather geared for creating semi-skilled workers rather than gearing students for higher education and its courses being offered. The said curriculum actually emphasises English, rather than Filipino as its medium of instruction, aside from basic sciences, mathematics, and Technical-Vocational courses that somehow justifies its intention to create semi-skilled workers and to justify education as necessary for cheap labor. It may as well also possibly reduce approaches in Philippine history and culture as it emphasise subjects whose consciousness that is driven towards foreign, rather than domestic interest.

But according to Tanggol Wika's David Michael San Juan, the group had insisted that the proposed curriculum should include 3 to 9 units of Filipino subjects, especially if Filipino is to be widely-used as a medium of instruction in some subjects including Mathematics and Sciences.

There's indeed a lack of flack from most Filipinologists, knowing that the proposed curriculum, specifically its near omission of teaching Filipino language as suggested by CHED, had actually affected Filipino teachers, knewing that the subject they had taught to its students for years may possibly be scrapped, or in the minimum, having its units lessened  all in favor of English as its medium of instruction in most subjects Filipino often used, hence describing the proposed curriculum as gearing towards globalization, rather than national consciousness, with the creation of semi-skilled workers for multinational and transnational companies rather than professionals willing to take part in nation building.

In fact, as most writeups concerning the issue, especially those in online sites such as Rappler and GMA News, had became an object of discussion and debate by those whose by-words are globalization and integration, while on the other as preserving national identity and patriotism. 
The former had even speak much of practicality as one of its reason, or even history citing Filipino intellectuals like those of Rizal or F. Sionil Jose had works written whether in Spanish or in English, while others would even why should they study their own tongue in college knowing that they had studied it in Primary and Secondary level, and even citing the use of international language, especially English as necessary for transactions like business matters, up to the narrowest of all the statements like tuition fees. Such statements given by those whom favoring omission had rather giving up their Filipino-ness save admiration in going to beaches such as Boracay, waving the flag, and watching boxing matches that showcases "Filipino pride", or altogether be trashed out as an endless wanderer seeking fortunes around the globe, emphasising personal interest rather than its own homeland above all.
That somehow made the latter think that they're really giving up identity and heritage all in favor of an illusion such as those of integration, of reducing patriotism into a mere scholastic issue being studied in primary and secondary levels, if not being treated as a showcase for tourism, while terms like global village, regional development through integration, and international standards being emphasised, that actually benefits international parasites such as the west.

And the fact that the issue continues to tackle upon both by those favoring omission and those trying to keep Filipino as part of the curriculum, why the Philippines, whilst bannering patriotism had preferred being dictated by outside interest? Good to hear about technical and vocational education being encouraged in today's k12 curriculum, but did the present system speaks about industrialization in order for these graduates, as well as engineers setting, if not strengthening foundations of Philippine industry? What's wrong in studying Filipino language, or even using the said language, aside from English in other subjects such as sciences and mathematics? Or is the need for a patriotic, scientific, mass oriented education complicated? 

Actually, DepED has much priorities to do before insisting k12 and other related programs guised as reforms in the education sector. Lack of schools, teachers, materials for educating millions of Filipino children has to be tacked upon instead of unjust imposing a curriculum that in fact intensifies commercialization, commodification of education. And since it had geared towards neoliberal interests, then the studying of one's own culture, including its language has to be omitted in favor of the demands of the market. It may sound practical to those whose idea is all about treating education as just factor for having a job than means to cultivate knowledge and consciousness as part of community.      

Well, as according to Antonio Contreras, there's also fault amongst Filipino teachers for being unimaginative and ill-prepared in regards to their practise, but does it mean that the subject itself has to be scrapped off? Omitted altogether from the curriculum? Again, it may include history and culture as well since Filipino and other related subjects are part of recognizing an identity:

"While this may be the failure of how Filipino is taught in basic education, it does not negate the fact that we do really have a big problem when the manner our national language is taught is itself problematic. Indeed, the fault may also lie in many unimaginative and ill-prepared Filipino teachers. But then again, this is symptomatic of the level of attention and support the educational system gave the teaching of Filipino. After all, Filipino was just taught as a course, and as a medium for instruction in some subject areas, but not as the medium upon which all forms of knowledge will be engaged by the students. One just has to compare our situation with the poor-in-English but richer countries such as Korea, Taiwan and Japan where the medium of instruction is their national languages, to know how tragic the colonial legacy of fetishising English was for us."

Fetishising indeed, especially for a trying hard Yanqui who still thinks that English is the language of the liberator and of the modernizer. Time and again they would condemn Filipino for focusing on Tagalog as its base, a language that controls others directly from Imperial Manila.

But come to think of this: The 1987 Constitution has declared that Filipino as the Philippines' national language, reaffirming what was made in 1935 by Quezon and his SWP (Surian ng Wikang Pambansa). But in recognition of the diversity of our languages, the Constitution has also declared its fluidity and evolving nature, and sets these as the framework for its growth and intellectualization. Section 6 of Article XIV states that: “The national language of the Philippines is Filipino. As it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages.”
Hence, Filipino has been trying to be reform, revise, enrich, on the basis of existing languages and dialects, even sociolects and vulgar terms. But, the fluidity, as what Contreras and his writeup stated, which ideally should assuage the resentment felt by adherents of other regional languages, is however also a cause for vulnerability and uncertainty when paired with the succeeding provision which states that: “Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system.” The vulnerability lies in the phraseology of this provision, where the propagation of Filipino as an official language for communication and instruction is subjected to that now familiar escape clause—the notorious “subject to the provisions of law and as Congress may deem appropriate.” To date, while the 1987 Constitution specifies Filipino as the national language, Congress has not passed a law where it “deemed appropriate” to make Filipino the medium of official communication and as a mandatory medium of instruction in all levels of the educational system.

And perhaps, to those whom favor omitting, scrapping the study of Filipino language had wanted to "wither Filipino" with education, culture, anything is been geared towards globalization and neoliberalism. And these two ideas peddled by the system, actually stunts, rather than improve national development regardless of its rhetoric, knowing that it had opposed moves for industrialization, a thriving culture, an education geared for national purpose, and a society that is capable of standing up on its own. There's no provision telling that Filipino be used as its medium of official communication as what other SouthEast Asian countries do instead of just English.
They would even babble ASEAN integration as one of its alibis, and if so, then let's speak the language of the majority such as Bahasa Melayu, Bahasa Indonesia, or the hated Chinese for the latter is much taught nowadays in international schools around the world. As far as this writer knows that Filipino is also one of the official languages to be used in ASEAN just like other languages being stated and hence should been encouraged just like any other languages of countries in SouthEast Asia. In EU, Spanish, French, German, English are being used as official languages of instruction, so should be its SouthEast Asian counterpart.

Actually, this person, like any other commentators brought in the ways of the west yet carrying consciousness may had used English in his posts, citing comfortability in using the said language in regards to written works. But at the same time, he also speaks Filipino or in any other language directly especially in regards to comments particularly in social media sites and vis-a-vis with his friends and acquaintances; but to disregard altogether the study of native tongue or the culture of its own homeland is all but giving up themselves to other's selfish interest such as those whom chose to be dictated by bigger entities using integration and globalization as its pretext; and most comments favoring discontinuation studying Filipino and having a greater consciousness like studying Rizal's life, and Philippine history is against the current of illusions like Progress and Prosperity offered by Globalization and its pseudo-internationalist framework like regional integration. Rizal did make stories in Spanish, but he also instructs in Tagalog or any other Philippine dialect that made people understand his ideas and perspectives. 
And if studying Filipino in tertiary levels has to be given up then it's like giving up Japanese in Japan by the Japanese or giving up Turkish in Turkey by the Turks all for that goddamn globalization and hence be directly dictated by those in Wall Street in New York. The use of an international language is indeed necessary for bridging relations (and it's not English alone but also Spanish, German, Russian, French and even Chinese), but does not require discontinuing the study of one's native tongue, history, culture, anything that brought that person consciousness and identity. Malaysia did prosper, its people use English, but they encourage greatly their Bahasa Melayu as its native tongue, so is Indonesia in their very own Bahasa Indonesia.

And although the main topic focuses on Filipino language, it may possibly affect other subjects that inculcate Filipino consciousness and identity such as History and Culture. Regardless of their insistence that they had knew about their culture as Filipinos, few certainly understand about Filipino history well as most rather follow really distorted ones such as being shown in mainstream TV and in the Internet: of Manny Pacquiao and, the late Francis M's Three Stars and a Sun, and others that end commodified and peddled by interests, branding it those as Patriotism. Those people whom had brought contributions to contemporary Filipino history and culture are indeed significant, although actually it had been commodified and sold both their names and fames. Filipino pride had been treated a showcase for years and yet Filipino aspirations, of rebuilding dignity as a sovereign nation had been left in paper, hidden partially in the archives of everyone's lives in form of idea and imagination.

That somehow made this writer think these people, as blatantly anti-nationalistic, disregarding their native tongue, culture, identity, except during a boxing match or a beauty pageant. They had chose to be dictated by vested interest on the first place citing practicality as its reason, that also meant sacrificing what made them as Filipinos. San Juan's "Tanggol Wika" made its obligation to keep Filipino as part of tertiary education curriculum and still insisting against CHED and other institutions such as DepED, knowing that regardless of those insisting that they naturally knew their native tongue, is at the same time confused in what they're saying, much more that they often fail in conveying words that are concise and clear, especially that the language they're using is the language of their homeland.

Much more that "Tanggol Wika" calls for what education and culture should be: Patriotic, Scientific, and Mass-Oriented in order to revive Filipino-ness and genuinely adaptive in the call of times.