Interesting blog on Philippines' national language
Harold F. Schiffman
haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Wed Jan 31 14:05:53 UTC 2007
LANGUAGE TRADITIONS AND FEDERALISM
By Dr. Jose Palu-ay Dacudao
January 29, 2007
Manila Colonialism, a Brief Introduction
The center is the place wherein control resides; the peripheries are the
places that are controlled. In our present social and historical context,
the center is MetroManila and perhaps the adjacent CALABARZON, and the
peripheries are the provinces. Some terms that are sometimes used to refer
to peripheries are:
5.the 4th world
(In our context, we Visayans would be regarded as captive peoples, and the
Ilonggo nation as a captive nation, victims of internal colonialism. Like
many other former Asian and African European colonies that are now
internally being colonized by their capitals and by other native ethnic
groups left in power by the former colonial masters, we have become part
of the 4th world. Like them, our political, economic, and ethnolinguistic
realities are slaved to the whims of the colonial capital.)
There are two general ways by which a center controls its peripheries. One
is by direct means through the state apparatus, called colonialism. A
second is by indirect means: economic, political, and cultural pressure,
called imperialism. Manila controls its peripheries for the most part
directly through the state apparatus and is thus engaged in internal
colonialism. The term imperial Manila should technically contain the term
'colonial', but in any case it does serve to highlight the abusive center.
The present situation of captive nations is a historical consequence of
the great drive of the Europeans to colonize the rest of the world in the
16th to the 19th century. Whenever a colony was established, a center was
set up within the overseas colony in order to control the peripheries of
the colony. When the Europeans withdrew from their colonies in the 20th
century, the centers were taken over usually by the ethnic groups residing
in them, and continued to implement internal colonialism under a different
set of masters.
Promote political autonomy in the peripheries. Movements for Independence/
Secession (synonymous terms differing only from whose viewpoint, center or
periphery, you are looking from), Anarchism (not the bomb throwers of
urban legends but the social theory that tries to decentralize the
nation-state), Confederation, Federalism, Autonomy, and so on are
manifestations of the drive of peripheral peoples for political autonomy.
Given the present conditions, it is my opinion that a concerted effort by
concerned libertarians and patriots for Federalism serves the purpose to
preserve our languages the best.
The economy of a colonial set-up is designed to promote capital flight
from the peripheries to the center, and also to promote the
industrialization of the central area (in our context the
Manila-CALABARZON) while keeping the peripheries agricultural.
1. Taxation/tribute (essentially synonymous terms in a colonial set-up
with taxes as the more socially acceptable term): This is centralized in
and controlled by the center, to do as it wills. It is only by the grace
of the center if the peripheries receive a share. From the point of view
of the periphery, this is legalized, socially acceptable plunder.
2. Manila-based corporations (MBCs): These organizations are similar to
Multinational Companies (MNCs) that transfer money to their parent
nation-states from the third world. MBCs may have economic operations in
the provinces, but most of their profits are transferred to Manila.
3. The upper classes of the provinces that reside in Manila: As in MBCs,
the earnings of upper class families in a provincial economic operation
usually end up where they reside in.
4. Unequal distribution of the industrial compartment of society, with
most industries in the center (Manila-CALABARZON) , due to social and
historical forces in a colonial set-up. The economy of an ecosystem can be
divided for convenience into productive, industrial, service, and
protective (for our purposes the natural climax community of the area)
compartments. The productive compartment produces raw materials. The
industrial compartment turns the raw material into finished products,
thereby adding to the value of the raw material. If the industry/factory
is located in the center, as is usually the case, this added value
represents a profit for the center, when it sells back the finished
product to the periphery that originally produced the raw material.
5. The concentrated presence of the best educational institutions in the
center because of social and historical forces in a colonial set-up. A
large part of every familys budget goes into the education of its
children. If the children are educated in the center, this budget will end
up in the center too.
Economic Solution: Place the control of taxes, corporations/ companies,
education in the peripheries. Make laws that will encourage or require
controlling families (the upper class) to reside in the peripheries.
Industrialize the peripheries.
Whenever one talks about such things above, one would run into
cultural/psychologi cal barriers that could be regarded as 'nationalist
myths that apparently justify the existence of internal colonialism in the
area known as the Philippines. Examples of such myths are Nationalism,
Nation, Nation-state , One Country, National Language, and so on, which
the Manila-based Unitarian government promotes in schools and government
Specifically, these myths tend to promote the particular nationalism that
is properly termed Tagalog Nationalism, which presupposes:
1. that nationalism (in the Philippines) is good and
2.that to be a good nationalist, one must be a good Tagalog.
Individuals, organizations, and other entities that promote Tagalog
Nationalism may be described by the adjective Tagalista.
A person or organization that promotes peripheral autonomy invites the
label of anti the above myths. Since the central Philippine State itself
promotes Tagalog nationalism, prevailing Philippine social norms are set
against such persons and organizations.
It must be made clear that these nationalist myths are not sacred, and
were invented and spread mostly only in early 20th century. The
Philippines itself in a sense did not exist before the 20th century. The
word Filipino back then meant a person of Spanish descent born in what was
then a colony of Spain, the Philippine Islands. Natives were called
Persons and organizations, both those in power and those aspiring for
power, that want a strong centralized state generally promote these myths.
For example, not only does the Manila government promote Nationalism, but
also the opposition Communist Party that aims for a highly centralized
state, should it succeed, in order to implement the state socialism /
dictatorship of the proletariat that Marxist theory requires. As for
traditional Philippine opposition political parties, fundamentally they
just aim to change whoever is on top, but not the centralized system
It must also be made clear that we are not opposing individual Manilenos
or Tagalogs per se, but that as members of our own culture groups, we have
a right to protect out own cultural identities.
How to promote nationalist myths?
A. The National Creeds: the National Anthem and National Pledge that every
school child recites every morning. There are also nationalist songs and
pledges sung and recited by all government employees weekly. Note that all
of these are in Tagalog, and that their significant effect is to promote
Solution: Demythify or desanctify these myths. Being human inventions,
they are subject to the critique of human reason. For example, one can
consider not singing or reciting them. Or a non-Tagalog, like an Ilonggo
(or for that matter a Cebuano, Waray, Ilocano, Pangasinense, Kapampangan,
Bicolano, etc.), can sing and recite them in Binisaya, thus promoting
Ilonggo nationalism, which in our present social and historical context
may be a good way to oppose Manila colonialism.
B. Centralized Mass Media: These promote captive provincial cultures that
idolize Manilas culture and enhances the social status of Manilenos and
Tagalogs as the social majority.
Solution: Promote provincial based mass media that uses non-Tagalog
C. The Educational System: This is controlled by Manila and actively
promotes nationalist myths. The concentration of the best schools in
Manila also results in the best minds to be educated there, thereby also
promoting a loyalty to the center and its culture.
Solution: Place the control of Education in the peripheral governments.
Build more good schools in the peripheries.
D. Tagalog as the National Language: This has promoted the
Manila-CALABARZON status as the social majority more than any other
phenomenon. Non-Tagalogs in the Philippines have become social and soon to
be actual minorities. Already, the percentage of non-Tagalogs in the
over-all Philippine population has been steadily decreasing as seen in NSO
statistics. Historical studies indicate that this Tagalizing policy will
eventually result in the death of all non-Tagalog identities if left
unopposed. Unitarian governments throughout history, from Rome and the
Caliphates to imperial Russia and China, have generally imposed a
one-language policy, and cultures that failed to resist found themselves
Solution: Recognize the peripheral languages as official and teach them in
the peripheral schools. This is done in other countries. For example,
India has about 20 official languages, Switzerland 4, Canada 2. Vietnam
recognizes all its indigenous languages as official and uses them in
government institutions in their traditional areas.
E. The Negligence to Teach the History of the Non-Tagalog Peoples: Where
in Philippine schools can you see the history of the Visaya peoples (or
for that matter Ilocano, Pangasinense, Pampango, Bicol, and so on) being
taught. I myself, a Visayan, only realized that my cultural identity stems
from the Sri-Visaya Empire of old when I did personal research on the
origin of the term Visaya. What do present-day Visayans know of this? The
histories of the peoples of
the Philippines have effectively been erased from the publics mind.
Solution: The local schools should be required to teach local histories,
from the point of view of the local ethnolinguistic people.
Posted by Jason Paul Laxamana
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