Editorial: Weakened protest

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

THE decision of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to remove the Filipino subject from the college curriculum has not only conjured a discussion on the correctness of the move but also rekindled the age-old debate on the appropriateness of the use of Tagalog-based Filipino as national language.

The Ched decision is supposedly in keeping with the adoption by the country of the K to 12 program. The argument is that the addition of two years to basic education starting in 2016 would allow the Filipino subject offered in college to be accommodated in senior high school.

De la Salle University’s Michael San Juan, an official of the Pambansang Samahan sa Linggwistika at Literaturang Filipino, appeared on cable TV’s ANC recently and said that around 10,000 teachers of Filipino in college will either be fired or face reduced teaching load following the Ched decision.


This reality, though, cannot solely be blamed on the removal of the Filipino subject in college but is actually part of the overall adjustment when two years will be added to high school starting in 2016 as part of the implementation of the K to 12 program.

By then, the country’s colleges and universities won’t have fresh high school graduates as college enrollees for two years.

Aside from the status of teachers of Filipino in college, however, the other arguments catering to nationalism has not gained much traction especially among some sectors in non-Tagalog speaking regions.

In each of these regions, there have always been people that do not consider “Filipino” as a true national language. They feel that the language symbolizes Tagalog “imperialism” and places at a disadvantage students from non-Tagalog speaking regions trying to learn it.

This sentiment against “Filipino” is old but its embrace by a good number of Filipinos has weakened protests over the Ched decision. Indeed, these sectors didn’t oppose earlier moves to strengthen the use of English in schools and the introduction of the mother tongue as medium of instruction at the lower grade levels under the K to 12 program.

English is even preferred over Filipino by a growing number of Filipinos in the current globalized setup.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2014.


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