[lg policy] Philippines: Policies on the use of the Filipino language

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 17 16:24:48 UTC 2014

Policies on the use of the Filipino language

Take a look at some of the main Filipino language policies currently in
place that aid government institutions to uphold and propagate the national
   Nigel Tan
Published 2:44 PM, Aug 16, 2014
 Updated 2:44 PM, Aug 16, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – The 1987 Constitution clearly defines Filipino as the
country's national language. It also acknowledges that Filipino is
evolving, and that it shall be developed and enriched on the basis of other
existing dialects and languages.

The Constitution also directs the government to take steps that will
initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as the medium of official
communication and as a language of instruction in the educational system.

What exactly has been done to carry out this constitutional duty? Let us
take a look at some policies currently in place that aid government
institutions in upholding and propagating the national language.

*1987 Constitution*

Sections 6 to 9 of Article XIV outline the main language policy in the
country. Section 6 of the Article is already mentioned above.

Section 7 states that for the purposes of communication and instruction,
Filipino and, until otherwise provided by law, English are the official
languages of the Philippines. In addition, other native Philippine
languages – particularly those that are not Tagalog – shall be auxiliary
official languages and shall serve as auxiliary medium of instruction in
the regions they are spoken.

Section 9 mandates the foundation of a national language commission tasked
to undertake, coordinate, and promote researches for the development,
propagation, and preservation of Filipino and other languages. Pursuant to
this section, the *Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino* (Commission on the Filipino
Language) or KWF was created in 1991.

*Executive Order 335*

Seeking to further the use of Filipino in official transactions and
communications, President Corazon Aquino ordered in 1988 all government
departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities to take
steps in using the Filipino language in transactions, communications, and

This executive order also assigns personnel in every office who will be in
charge of all communication and correspondence written in Filipino.

It also tasks government entities to translate names of offices, divisions
of instrumentalities, and even oaths of office into Filipino, and to make
proficiency in the use of Filipino in official communications and
correspondences as part of personnel training programs.

*KWF Resolution 1-92*

The KWF passed in 1992 a resolution adopting a working description of
Filipino for the purpose of accomplishing Commission tasks. It describes
Filipino as the native language spoken and written in the National Capital
Region and other urban centers in the Philippines, and is used as the
language of communication between ethnic groups.

Filipino, as with any living language, is recognized to be in the process
of development via loans from other Philipine languages and non-native
varieties of the language for various social situations, among speakers of
different backgrounds, and for topics of conversation and scholarly

Due to the fact that there are 8 major native languages in the Philippines
whose speakers outnumber Tagalog users, the notion of a Tagalog-based
national language has long been the center of an ongoing argument regarding
the national language of the Philippines, with debates dating as far back
as 1937 when Tagalog was declared the basis of the national language.

*Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) Order 81*

In 1987, the DECS released the "Alphabet and a Guide for Spelling in the
Filipino Language," laying down the letters of Filipino alphabet and rules
on spelling.

According to the order, the Filipino Alphabet is composed of 28 letters –
the original 26 letters of the English alphabet, plus letters Ñ and Ng. The
order also details how the letters should be read.

It also discussed grammar and spelling in the Filipino language – rules
regarding diction, spelling, translation, how and when to use loanwords,
syllables and syllabication of words, and the use of dashes, commas, and

*Bilingual Language Policy*

The Bilingual Language Policy in the country's education system seeks to
attain Filipino and English competence at a national level through their
use as media of instruction at all levels.

The policy aims to propagate Filipino as a language of literacy, to
cultivate and develop Filipino as a language of scholarly discourse, and to
further its development as a national language. The policy also states that
regional dialects shall also be used as auxiliary media of instruction and
the initial language for literacy when needed.

DECS earlier issued this policy in 1974, along with DECS order No. 25,
which allotted Filipino as the medium of instruction for social sciences,
arts, physical education, home economics, practical arts and character
education subjects. In turn, English is the medium of instruction for
mathematics and science and technology.

With the signing of the 1987 Constitution, Filipino and English are
mandated to be used as media for instruction.

*College General Education Curriculum's language policy.*

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) issued in 1994 the New General
Educational Curriculum (GEC) under CHED Memorandum Order 59.

The GEC requires Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to have at least 9
units of Filipino language courses. In addition, to coordinate with the
Department of Education (DepEd)’s Bilingual Education Policy, language
courses, whether Filipino or English, should be taught in that language.
Courses in Humanities and Social Sciences should preferably be taught in

Furthermore, at the discretion of HEIs, literature subjects may be taught
in Filipino, English, or in any other language so long as there are enough
instructional materials, students, and instructors competent in the
language. A revised Syllabi of Filipino courses 1, 2, and 3 was issued in
2007 under CMO 54.

The CHED has been under fire by proponents of the Filipino language and
language education since CMO No. 20 s. 2013 was issued, which outlined a
new revised GEC set for 2018 that contained no Filipino language courses.
Filipino language education proponents accused CHED of failing to
intellectualize Filipino and that the new GEC would displace thousands of
Filipino professors and instructors

CHED defended its decision by stating that the planned new GEC will work in
conjunction with the K-12 program and that many remedial courses, like
Filipino and English, will be taught in senior high school years, thereby
making them redundant in college. CHED also pointed out that Filipino’s
status as a medium of instruction in higher education courses shall not be
affected. The CHED also noted that Filipino faculty members aren’t the only
ones affected by the new GEC, as literature, mathematics, humanities, and
social sciences courses were also removed.

In July 2014, the House of Representatives committee asked the CHED to
report how many educators will be affected by the K-12 system
<http://www.rappler.com/nation/64708-congress-transition-fund-k-to-12> as a
prerequisite to a proposal to fund displaced education workers.

*K-12 program and the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB MLE)*

DepEd launched in 2011 the K-12 program, which became law only in 2013. Along
with other curricular and policy reforms introduced, the K-12 program
sought to build proficiency through language via MTB MLE, introduced in
2012. The mother tongue or first language refers to languages or dialects
first learned by a child and with which the child identifies with.

MTB-MLE aims to develop Filipino and English proficiency by starting basic
education with the first language of learners. Starting in kindergarten up
to Grade 3, the medium of instruction shall be in the mother tongue of the
students. Beginning in Grade 1, Filipino and English will be taught as
subject areas.

Come Grades 4 to 6, DepEd shall formulate a mother tongue transition
program in which English and Filipino are introduced as media of
instruction so that by Junior High School and Senior High School, the two
can become the primary languages of instruction.

Initially, there were 12 regional languages under the MTB MLE program:
Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Iloko, Bikol, Kapampangan, Maguindanaoan,
Meranao, Pangasinense, Bahasa Sug (Tausug), Chabacano and Waray. In July
2013, Ybanag, Ivatan, Sambal, Aklanon, Kinaray-a, Yakan, and Surigaonon
were added to the program.
<http://www.rappler.com/nation/33619-mother-tongue-languages-k12> *–**

*Sources: **1987 Constitution: Article XIV
Order No. 335 s. 1988
<http://www.gov.ph/1988/08/25/executive-order-no-335-s-1988/>, DepEd: DECS
order 52 and 54 s. 1987
order 81 s. 1987*,* NCCA: Language Policies in the Philippines
on the Filipino Language Resolution 1-92
<http://wika.pbworks.com/w/page/8021710/Resolusyon%20Blg%2092-1>, Republic
Act No. 10533 <http://www.gov.ph/2013/05/15/republic-act-no-10533/%20>,
Republic Act No. 10533 Implementing Rules and Regulations
<http://www.gov.ph/2013/09/04/irr-republic-act-no-10533/%20>, About K-12
<http://www.gov.ph/k-12/#RA10533%20>, CHED Memorandum Order No 59 s. 1996
CHED Memorandum Order No 54 s. 2007
CHED Memorandum Order No. 20 s. 2013
CHED Press Statement On The Removal of Filipino and Filipino Teachers from
the New General Education Curriculum
*Catacataca et al.: *Wikang Filipino: Kasaysayan at Pag-Unlad. *Commission
on the Filipino Language: *Patakarang Pangwika: Mga Batas, Kautusan,
Pahayag at Kapasyahan Tungkol sa Wikang Filipino.*

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