Thursday, 4 September 2014



by Maria S. Ramos

With introductory preface and conclusion
from Lualhati Madlangawa Guererro

This is the substative text of the position paper of the Kapisanan ng mga Propesor sa Pilipino (KAPPIL) on the National language issue, it was delivered by Maria S. Ramos, KAPPIL and UE-PAUW chapter president, suring the national language hearing of the constitutional convention last Nov. 23, 1971 at the Manila Hotel.

Prior to posting this decades-old writeup (originally from DAWN since 1971), this writer, also cooperating with groups like "Tanggol Wika" also made writeups stressing the importance of a Patriotic, Scientific and Popular instruction to the people, specifically those of studying and promoting the language of the masses like Filipino in all levels. Ramos's statement would say that yes, Filipino is like Bahasa Indonesia whose base is Javanese, but they include Bugis, Bangsa Jawa, and others that had enriched the language of Indonesians. So should be Filipino in spite of Tagalog as its base. Regardless of the current criticism pointing against Filipino as medium of instruction, mostly citing the practicality of using English up to the exaggerated alibi of 'Tagalog supremacy', there are words that also comes from other dialects like Visayan with its 'Padayon' and Iloko with 'Agbiag' that also shared meaning as 'Mabuhay'.

Personally, the statement is somehow aligned with the present statements given by professors San Juan, Batnag, Geronimo, et al. in spite of its differences of than the year that was written. But the message is clear that Filipino, or in its original name, Pilipino will always be the lingua franca of the masses, and still continues to be enriched and thriving regardless of the criticism.

But come to think of this, why most progressive countries used their own native tongue instead of English? Or to most English speakers, is their English used in enlighten the people instead of enslaving them? English is a good language of trade, but to forget Filipino as its own tongue comes a lack of consciousness except false pride and full of nonsense.

And here it goes:

We are deeply concerened about the problem of what shall be out National language. It is certainly not english nor spanish. It must be Pilipino. But Pilipino based on Tagalog. If we trace the history of the development of National language in the world, we will find out that majority of their National language by basing it on one of their existing dialects, either because that existing dialect is widely spoken or that dialect is rich in its literature. China chose Mandarin; Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia or Javanese; India, Hindi; Pakistan, Urdu; Spain, Castillan Spanish. No country in the world today has its National language developed by means of the convergence of dialects. The English language isnnot the product of dictated convergence. The English language is developed through a long process of growth forced by historical circumstances. It has its basis the Angles, then by the force of the invasion
And was, by different countries introduced their languages: the Saxons of Germany, the Jutes from Jutland, Norway, and Sweden.
The Romans introduced Latin, the French and Normans through the duke of Normandy William the Conqueror, introduced French and the Spaniards, Spanish. This is the English language today, it grows and develops not by legislation or dictation but through usage by the people.

In our country today, Tagalog was made the basis of our National language not because the Tagalogs desire to be imperialist or dominant but because the wisdom of the Institute of National Language then, after making a thorough study of our principal local dialects like the Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Bicolano, and Tagalog, concluded and recommended that Tagalog should be made the basis because of the following reasons:

1.) Tagalog is easy to teach and to learn.
2.) Tagalog is the riches among local dialects and has the elements of foreign languages like Latin, Greek, Hindu, Chinese, Indonesian, Spanish, and English.
3.) Tagalog is the language of commerce and industry. This is spoken in all commercial cities in the Philippines,
4.) Among all the local dialects, Tagalog has producted the richest literature, Florante at Laura ni Balagtas, poems and novels of exemplary Tagalog writers,
5.) The center of culture, religion, and education is Manila, which speaks Tagalog. We cannot deny this.
6.) Tagalog is flexible, absorbent, and versatile. The present trend of modernisation of language in Asia is towards the use of the native affixes and the foreign rootword; for example- prefix mag + root English word party = Magparty; Magreport, prefix mag + root English word report; magexibhit, magsiyuting, nagholdup - infix = sign, sumain- suffix sinainan, Spanish demonstrasyon, nagdemonstrasyon, rebolusyon, nagrebolusyon.
7.) Tagalog is accepted geographically, traditionally, and historically. Manila, which speaks Tagalog is located at the centre of the. Philippines where all people going to it will certainly learn Tagalog. It was the language of the Kartilya ng Katipunan and the Constitution of the Katipunan government. The Tagalog dialext was the most common dialect used by the Filipinos during the Spanish period. A Tagalog travelling anywhere in the Philippines is understood everywhere. This was attested to by Spanish historian fr. Chirino and Loarca (Encyclopedia of the Philippines by Zoilo Galang).
8.) For 26 years of propagation through the schools, the government and the media, like the newspaper, magazines, radio, and television, Pilipino based on Tagalog has spread extensively throughout the Philippines. The CEAP survey of 1970 revealed that 64% of our people speak and understand Pilipino,

The members of the first Institute of National Language were not all Tagalogs, the Chairman was Jaime C. de Veyra, a Visayan; the other one was Hadji Butu, a Muslim. Only one was a Tagalog, Lope K. Santos. Later the government, because of lack of funds, abolished the board of directors and left only one director. It is not the fault of the director if he was unable to incorporate many other local words to the National language.

If compared to the interests of other countries in the development of their National language, ours is very much behind. Malaysia has a national language building costing around 2 million pesos. The National language celebration lasts for one month. Burma, immediately after its independence, translated almost all of its English books into the native language. In Indonesia, no political leader can run for public office without writing or speaking Bahasa Indonesia.

Today, after almost 36 years that Pilipino based from Tagalog has been taught in all private and public schools, 64% of our people already understand and speak Pilipino. This is so, because of the efforts of the schools, the government, the movies, and the mass media. This is attested by the survey made by the CEAP in 1970.

In the development of a national language based on Tagalog, we will not certainly not abandon our local dialects for they are the expressions of our local culture. They must be spoken at home, but certainly we need a common language to bridge our people- and that language is Pilipino, the basis of our National language in 1937 (Executive Order No. 134) - a language that has passed trial and test fot the last 36 years. It is the language for which our government spent millions and millions of pesos in books and other teaching materials. It is the language for which around 30,000 teachers earn their livelihood and it is the language being majored by thousands of students throughout the Philippines.

As a teacher who has taught the language for the last 25 years, I have found the result of my teaching very encouraging. There are more non-Tagalogs who are more proficient in Pilipino than the Tagalogs themselves.

In the development of Pilipino, we are not going to suppress the other vernaculars or eliminate English. We are for the development and enrichment of Pilipino language by incorporating into it English, Spanish, Ilokano, Bisaya, and other Pilipino dialects by established usage. For language must grow. It must grow by leaps and bounds. It is nurtured and cared. In the course of its growth, there are terms, expressions, or usages that are discarded and there are those that survive the test of time and live to become part of a standard language that has the making of a National language. We must not eliminate English, for English is our link language to the outside world. It is the international language, the language of science and technology.

The proposal to develop a new language for out of all the existing native languages is purely artificial language survives. This is like Esperanto which did not prosper. Before a certain theory is adapted, it must be tested and experimented. Has it been done in other countries? Was it successful? Let us see the other theory; that is, using a dialect as its basis. Was it done? Was it successful? There are questions that we must answer.

We must not loose sight also of the fact that there are enormous amount of money will be wasted if we begin again to adopt another proposal. It is a well-known fact that our country is in dire poverty where millions are hungry. Let us be less emotional and less regionalistic, let us sacrifice for the well being of the people. Let us not work for change when change is not essentially needed anymore.

The teaching of good citizenship, of basic literature and culture is part of Nation-building and this can best be done and achieved thru the medium of a common language. That language is Pilipino- a National language that has pass trial and test for a long period of time, for which we have spent a lot of money, and for which we harvested fruitful and satisfactory rewards. Its use is popular and is understood by the majority of our people. Let us adopt it as our common medium of expression for National unity and identity.


It's been centuries past when Tagalog had served as its base for the National language such as Filipino. Year by year it continues to be enriched by local dialects, vulgar and colloquial terms, sociolects, even those of foreign terms adapted to Filipino sounding such as 'Payb Handred' instead of 'Five Hundred'.

However, in spite of trying to maintain and enrich, there are those whom trying to disregard Filipino such as those of schools using their 'mother tounge' instead of studying Filipino in primary levels, if not removing Filipino in tertiary level and be placed in senior high and therefore must be opposed as what San Juan, Batnag, and Geronomo insisted.
On the other hand, this writer also criticize Ramos, regardless of the decade being presented in 1971 for limiting local dialects 'at home' citing the fact that there are communities in Metro Manila that are mostly from the minorities like Moros in Quiapo, Manila or Warays in Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City; Movies like Cesar Montano's 'Panaghoy sa Suba' used Cebuano, or Sigfreid Barros Sanchez's 'In bangka ha ut sin duwa sapah' used Tausug as its spoken language. But still, these dialects had enriched Filipino as the language of the mass, forging further in the spirit of National unity and identity.

In the maximum, building a better nation should be innovative yet deeply rooted. True that English is indeed the language of science, trade, laws, anything that is modern; but it should not be a hindrance in insisting an education and culture that is, Patriotic, Scientific, and Mass Oriented.

As according to Renato Constantino, he said:

"The object is not merely to produce men and women who can read and write or who can add and subtract. The primary object is to produce a citizenry that appreciates and is conscious of its nationhood and has national goals for the betterment of the community."
And that includes appreciating, enriching the language just like its own culture.

After all, why on earth those who desire to dissolve Filipino in the tertiary level insist their moves? Removing it is more than just affecting the professors and their benefits, but also in possible dissolving subjects that require using Filipino as its medium. Subjects like Logic, Social Sciences, Philippine History, and  Humanities are likely to be affected by the sudden dissolution of Filipino in the tertiary level; much more that in this current state of Philippine education, geared towards globalization, is actually making the future Filipino generation devoid of national consciousness, likely a slave for an exploitative market of vested interests.

And thus should be opposed.

Anyways, regardless lf the slander, Filipino, or its original name, Pilipino, will always serve as one of foundation for the coming Renaissance in this 21st century.

Thank you and Padayon!