[lg policy] MANILA, Philippines – Filipino language advocates on Monday, June 10, filed a letter of protest before the Supreme Court (SC) decrying its decision to remove Filipino and Panitikan as required subjects in college

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue Jun 11 11:17:20 EDT 2019


MANILA, Philippines – Filipino language advocates on Monday, June 10, filed
a letter of protest before the Supreme Court (SC) decrying its decision
<https://www.rappler.com/nation/231545-supreme-court-filipino-panitikan-not-required-college>
 to remove Filipino and Panitikan as required subjects in college.

In a 22-page letter to the High Court, the Alyansa ng Mga Tagapagtanggol ng
Wikang Filipino/Alliance of Defenders of the Filipino Language (Tanggol
Wika) said it hoped to stop “imminent cultural genocide, the impending
murder of our national language and local literature.”

“As the national language is a strong social glue that binds our
archipelago, it is not an exaggeration to say our country’s survival is
also at stake here,” Tanggol Wika said.

Tanggol Wika maintained that the SC decision was “patently unjust,” as it
would cause potential job displacements of “at least 10,000 faculty members
in the coming months,” on top of violating language provisions in the
Constitution.

In March, the High Court upheld its October 2018 decision
<https://www.rappler.com/nation/216393-supreme-court-lifts-tro-filipino-not-required-subject-college>
lifting
the temporary restraining order (TRO) against Commission on Higher
Education (CHED) memorandum order (CMO) No. 20, Series of 2013
<https://ched.gov.ph/cmo-20-s-2013/> or CMO 20, which prescribes a college
general education curriculum that excludes Filipino, Panitikan, and the
Constitution from core courses.

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SC reiterates Filipino, Panitikan not required in college

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In its letter of protest, Tanggol Wika argued that the decision would
“deprive millions of students of their chance and opportunity to expand and
deepen their ability to use the national language in a more intellectual
way, in all disciplines and at higher levels of discourse.”

The group also said that the High Court’s decision “directly contravenes”
the 1987 Constitution by prioritizing English over Filipino.

But the SC in its March decision emphasized that CMO 20 only provides for
the "minimum standards" for the general education component of all degree
programs and "does not limit the academic freedom of universities and
colleges to require additional courses in Filipino, Panitikan, and the
Constitution in their respective curricula. (READ: Schools to fight SC
ruling removing Filipino as required college subject
<https://www.rappler.com/nation/216801-schools-response-supreme-court-lift-tro-filipino-not-required-college-subject>
)

To this, Tanggol Wika said, “It is a travesty to allow CHED to make a
regressive move on language policy, when the Constitution mandates forward
action, continuous progress into the process of cultivating the national
language.”

The group also criticized CHED for its “abuse of power” after disregarding
the positions of both the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and the National
Commission for Culture and the Arts, whic were against removing Filipino
and Panitikan from the list of mandatory subjects in college. (READ: KWF’s
Almario hits universities removing Filipino as a subject
<https://www.rappler.com/nation/231617-almario-hits-universities-using-supreme-court-decision-remove-filipino-subject>
)

The advocates further argued that the framers of the 1987 Constitution
intended for Filipino to be taught in all levels of education, from primary
to tertiary.

“The Constitution does not mention any level in the language provisions
because they’re meant for all educational institutions, for all levels of
education, for the whole educational system,” Tanggol Wika said. *–
Rappler.com*

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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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