Ilokano language under attack (Ang panggugulo ni Almario; the mess of Joel Lopez)

JLo
KWF Chair Virgilio Almario and DepEd Ilocos Norte’s Joel Lopez

booklet

All Philippine languages are actually under attack, but Ilokano has become most vulnerable and is now at the center of a raging battle, no thanks to the treachery of one man and the fascist ways of a national artist.

The controversy has been raging since January, and the plot thickens day after day. It started when Dr. Joel Lopez, assistant division superintendent and MTB-MLE (Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education) coordinator of DepEd Ilocos Norte, singlehandedly introduced changes to Ilokano orthography or spelling system that will be taught in schools. He never conducted consultations with language stakeholders.

Professional Ilokano writers and Ilokano language experts in the academe were quick to object. Under the MTB-MLE Implementing Rules and Regulations, stakeholder participation is necessary in drawing up a working orthography for any and all Philippine languages. Various groups—including GUMIL and Nakem Conferences—wrote position papers and letters addressed to various levels of the Department of Education (from division superintendent to the DepEd secretary himself) and also to the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF).  Everyone opposed the JLo (abbreviation for Joel Lopez; with profuse apologies to Jennifer Lopez) orthography.

Continue reading “Ilokano language under attack (Ang panggugulo ni Almario; the mess of Joel Lopez)”

“Uleg”

In the interest of fairness, dear karikna, I talked to Mrs. Elizabeth Madarang Raquel, former president of Gumil Filipinas, regarding the ‘Stupid Quezon’ controversy that has haunted concerned parties in the past two years.

To the uninitiated, just some background. Headlined “University of Hawaii prof calls Quezon stupid,” the news article was about Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili who, in good cheer, called the late president Manuel Quezon “stupid” during a Mother Language Education forum held at the MMSU College of Teacher Education. He felt that Quezon’s ‘one-nation, one language’ policy was a nineteenth-century measure that led to the decline of Philippine languages other than Tagalog. The news article said many participants, including teachers and students, were offended by the remark.

Raquel admitted that it was indeed she who wrote and contributed the news article bylined Mark R. Limon, published in the July 27-August 22 2009 issue of The Ilocos Times. She vehemently denied, however, that Limon did not have knowledge the article bore his name. “How can he not know?,” Raquel asked rhetorically in Ilocano, “he used to help me encode my articles, and he typed and emailed that particular article.” Limon, in an earlier interview, told your karikna that his former supervisor indeed used him as encoder but that he was informed of the news article’s byline only after it was published. Confessing to be an avid reader of this column, Raquel said she was hurt by my recent article, “The Lie of Eli.”

But did Limon really allow Raquel to use him as dummy? Definitely, according to Raquel, “Kinayatna met ta kayatna met ti agpopular.” (He agreed because he also wanted to be popular.) She described his former protégé as “ambisioso.” Continue reading ““Uleg””

The lie of Eli

NOW IT CAN BE TOLD.  Elizabeth Raquel, president of Gumil Filipinas, was “Mark Limon.”

Two years ago, a news article supposedly written and contributed by one Mark Limon appeared in this paper. The news article, headlined ““University of Hawaii prof calls Quezon stupid,” was obviously a tirade against Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili. In good cheer, Agcaoili called the late president Manuel Quezon “stupid” during a Mother Language Education forum held at the MMSU College of Teacher Education. He felt that Quezon’s ‘one-nation, one language’ policy was an eighteenth-century measure that led to the decline of Philippine languages other than Tagalog. Limon’s news article said many participants, including teachers and students, were offended by the remark.

Limon’s piece prompted Agcaoili to write a lengthy Letter to the Editor which attacked, in a scathing manner, Limon’s grammatical flaws and minor factual errors. Not mincing words, he even said, “Maasiak kadagiti adalan daytoy a maestro a din sa met nakasursuro.”

In a column on this issue, I expressed my suspicion that this is just a microcosm of the large-scale intramurals between rival groups Gumil Filipinas and Timpuyog Dagiti Mannurat iti Iluko. Limon was an elementary teacher in Currimao where Raquel is DepEd district supervisor. Raquel, let me remind you, is president of Gumil Filipinas while Agcaoili is one of the brains behind TMI.

I was right, but only that the real scenario is even more shocking than my conspiracy theory. In an interview with your karikna, Limon revealed that his name was used by Raquel without prior permission. In fact, Limon, who was not even present in the affair where Agcaoili made the ‘stupid’ remark, was only told by Raquel about the falsely bylined news article when it was already published.

But why is Limon now coming out in the open? It is because, dear karikna, he is no longer under the supervision of Raquel. Limon has been recently hired to teach at the MMSU College of Teacher Education. When he was still working in Currimao, teacher Limon was frequently used by supervisor Raquel as encoder.

Some folks in the Iluko writing circle have long shared the suspicion that everything is Raquel’s machination. The proof? The terrible English employed in the article is the same problematic English Raquel is patently known for. Continue reading “The lie of Eli”

Brilliant Agca, ‘Stupid’ Quezon

BY ALL YARDSTICKS, Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili is a brilliant man.

Prior to his joining University of Hawaii, he held tenured appointment at the University of the Philippines Diliman.  He is a creative writer and social researcher who has reaped coveted awards.  Above all, he is a well-meaning iconoclast.

Last July, Dr. Agcaoili was one of the presenters in the first Mother Language Education (MLE) forum in Ilocos.  On that same occasion, the Nakem Conferences also launched Sukimat: Researches on Ilokano and Amianan Studies, a publication he co-edited with two MMSU professors.

I am quite a big fan of the man known by many as “Agca”.  In fact, after the MLE forum, I requested him to autograph my copy of Dangadang, his award-winning novel.  My admiration for the man’s writing prowess is matched by my adulation for his ideas.  His courage and candor are awe-inspiring.

The other week, however, Agca shocked me with his Letter to the Editor published in The Ilocos Times.  Continue reading “Brilliant Agca, ‘Stupid’ Quezon”