Philippines: Filipino language office supports DepEd order

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sun Jun 10 15:42:21 UTC 2007

  Filipino language office supports DepEd
      Saturday, June 09 2007 @ 11:29 AM BST

Filipino language office supports DepEd order on English instruction

The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) has expressed support to Executive
Order 210, which mandates all schools in the elementary and secondary levels
to use English as a medium of instruction to subjects like Science,
Mathematics, Technology and Livelihood Education, Music, Arts, Physical
Education, Health and Citizenship Advancement Training. In an interview,
Ricardo Ma. Duran-Nolasco, chairman of the KWF, said that the Memorandum
Order 36 issued by Education Secretary Jesli Lapuz, upholds the Bilingual
Education Policy, which the government had been implementing as early as the

According to the KWF, English has always been the primary medium of
instruction in terms of number of hours in a regular school situation and he
believes that it will continue to be as long as the Constitution states the
same wordings. Nolasco stressed that according to Section 1(a) of EO 210,
English shall be taught as a Second Language starting with the First Grade,
something that the KWF has advocated since its creation in 1992. From then
on, all other subjects will be taught in the vernacular until the end of the
Second Grade, then afterwards using English as the primary medium of
instruction for English, Math and Science from Grade III onwards.

Nolasco stressed that contrary to the idea of everybody that the Philippines
uses bilingual policy in its operations, the KWF was created specifically to
promote all dialects in the country by ensuring that these will be developed
together with Filipino. The Commissioner also mentioned the case of the
school children in the Municipality of Lubwagan in the Province of Kalinga,
wherein the children scored higher in English, Math and Science because
these subjects were taught in the vernacular during Grades One and Two,
while English was taught as a foreign language.

"English and Filipino should not be put in enmity," Nolasco said, pointing
out that these two languages (English and Filipino) have different roles in
the learning of a child, as well as in real life when they will be using
them for practical purposes. However, the KWF clarified that schools will
not be enough a venue should the aim of this bilingual policy of the
government is fluency as the school provides lesser motivation to a student
to be encouraged to utilize and perfect the English language. In this note,
he explained that English will continue to exist as a foreign language as
motivations will never be enough to make people living in remote areas
proficient in the language as the case in other countries, whose official
language is also English.

For the KWF, scientific researches have already given proof that a child
needs at least 12 years before he could master his first language and
forcing them to learn a foreign language, like Filipino or English, in the
first grade will do nothing but retard their fluency in their native
language. He even defended EO 210 saying that it precisely protects the
child by allowing him first to perfect his native dialect before introducing
English and Filipino as the primary medium of instruction on his higher year
levels. Also, DepEd Order 36 clearly states nothing contrary to the accepted
scientific linguistic facts that English shall be taught as a foreign
language during the 1st Grade, then only using English as the primary medium
of instruction on the 3rd Grade.

In Lapuz' order, English will account to 1,440 minutes of the weekly
instruction, which is 70 percent of the total 2,040 minutes (or 6.8 hours)
of instruction per week from 1st to 3rd Year high school, and 1,490 minutes
(or 7.17 hours) for the 4th Year. Nolasco said the order will only take
mandate for those studying Elementary and High School as the law has already
granted Academic Freedom to all tertiary level education, giving them the
power to choose whether it is better to teach any subject into any language
they deem effective.

In conclusion, the KWF explicitly expressed that they support English as a
medium of instruction in the same way they support Filipino as the National
Language and the other existing Philippine dialects as the auxiliary
languages in every part of the country. (PNA)

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