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

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

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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)”

The “sorry” we are yet to hear

DR. AURELIO SOLVER AGCAOILI, the University of Hawaii professor who publicly called the late President Manuel L. Quezon “stupid” three months ago, has not apologized for what many felt was an arrogant and irresponsible remark.

I have written about this a moon ago (Brilliant Agca, Stupid Quezon), so let me refresh your memory. Last July, Dr. Agcaoili, a well respected educator and multi-awarded writer, was one of the presenters in the first Mother Language Education (MLE) forum in Ilocos. Held at MMSU Laoag Campus, the activity was attended mostly by teachers from all levels. Students, creative writers, journalists, and politicians were also present.

A week after, Mark Limon, a teacher from the Department of Education, contributed to The Ilocos Times a news article headlined, “University of Hawaii prof calls Quezon stupid,” which prompted Agcaoili to write a lengthy Letter to the Editor which attacked, in a scathing manner, Limon’s grammatical flaws and minor factual errors. He even insulted the teacher, saying, “Maasiak kadagiti adalan daytoy a maestro a din sa met nakasursuro.”

Yet Agcaoili, who demanded a public apology from Limon, never clarified whether or not he called Manuel L. Quezon, a former president venerated by many Filipinos as hero, “stupid.”

Did he?  If he did, why? Continue reading “The “sorry” we are yet to hear”

Nasken nga Ilokano ti pagisuro

Iti agtultuloy a panagsuek ti kalidad ti edukasion iti pagilian ken iti umad-adu a sukisok a mangipakita a nasaysayaat ti panagadal dagiti ubing no maaramat ti nakayanakanda a pagsasao iti panagisuro kadakuada kadagiti umuna a tukad ti elementaria, impaulog ti Departamento ti Edukasion ti DepEd Order No. 74 Series 2009 a napauluan iti Institutionalizing Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education wenno Mother Language Education (MLE). Iti Kailokuan, maaramat ti Ilokano kadagiti umuna a tallo grado iti elementaria. Kalpasanna, in-inut a maiserrek ti Filipino ken Ingles kadagiti nangatngato a tukad.

Adtoy ti makuna ti maysa nga eksperto, ni Dr. Lily Ann C. Pedro, agdama a hepe ti Center for Teaching Excellence iti MMSU College of Teacher Education, maipanggep daytoy nga isyu. Continue reading “Nasken nga Ilokano ti pagisuro”

Academicians critique priest’s book on Aglipayanism

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FR. ERICSON JOSUE is one of few Catholic priests I admire. Besides being bright and hardworking, he is humble and sensitive. We have known each other since our early teens (when he was still so lanky while I was then too fat), and I have always held him in high regard.

While other priests were busy attending parties, grooming expensive dogs, and constructing an ostentatious swimming pool in the Bishop’s Palace, Ericson had been busy writing books. Only in his early thirties, this son of Pasuquin has already published his second research output. “Out of the Depths”, which came out last December, tackles the phenomenal rise and eventual decline of Aglipayanism.

Well-meaning scholars must be given support and due recognition, and so I encourage my students and friends to read the book, if only to generate intelligent and enlightened discourse, a rarity in the Church (and government) these days.

Here, allow me to share excerpts of an interview conducted by students with Professor Fides Bernardo A. Bitanga, who teaches Sociology of Religion in the Mariano Marcos State University. Bitanga is also the new Editor-in-Chief of Sabangan, a social sciences publication in MMSU.

Continue reading “Academicians critique priest’s book on Aglipayanism”

Ubba ni Ama

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Roughly translated, this Iluko phrase means: “Father carrying a child”.

I may be no fan to America, but the greatness of human spirit transcends geography, race, religion, and even time… and so he has my respect. No man has inspired humanity in recent times more than this guy. Continue reading “Ubba ni Ama”

“Heben” by bhonj

Rusngiit nga uray la gumigis
Arutittit nga sumaplit arigem palsiit
Ngem no talyawem iti aglawlawmo ikit
Awan sabali no di ni Johnny, inka masirit.

Kabayatan iti nagkaado a sagubanitna
Agsusukot, agtutupatop, agsasanga
Maalananto payla’t aggarakgak, agkatawa
Uray na la itangad-tangad, natnag gayam pustiso na.

Arak ti maysa nga inna pangliwliwa
Pammigat, pangngaldaw,pangrabii isu’t danumna
No kastigarem, pampaimas pangan kunaen na kenka
“Ket di mo paylang ilabay”, inka isungbat, ay sultakennaka.

Intunno makaadon, isaganam da bagin
Di mapugsatan ti sao, karyarenna amin
Dayta ni Johnny, katatao na’t managbabain
Ngem no makainom, Diyos ko, mangibabain.

Kiwar ditoy, pinggit dita, dayta’t inna iyul-ulo
Nalaing nga umanunsyo, uray pinagbulan ti baket a kubbo
Ipustananto pay amin a di mangan-ano
Ngem no naatap ni gasat, agtinnagton a tuyo tay adobo.

Awan la’t di awan, tila adda paylang inda masangsango
Siam ti nagsasaruno, adda pay ubba nga agsussuso
Di payen mapunas a buteg, agkaraiwara nga isbo
Ngem no simmangbay da rabiin, dayta manen Apo, otso-otso.

Kastoy ti kasasaad iti kaaduan a Pilipino
Nakakatkatawa a kunaem ngem isu’t pudno
Narway unay inda panagsarak ti rag-o
Sadanto laeng mautob iti nasayaat,
dimmagadanton ken dimmapo.

ARIEL “Bhonj_” AGNGARAYNGAY, is a native of Solsona, Ilocos Norte and a third-year Civil Engineering Student in MMSU.

Ayanmo, Paskua? –by Mickle Cris Peralta

Ayanmo, Paskua? –by Mickle Cris Peralta
Ayandan dagiti tagtagari
Rimrimat ti silaw a di mapundi
Aglalo no matungpal dagiti karkari
A mangted ragsak kadagiti umili

Ayandan dagiti agkerkerol
A maragsakan ken makaayat uray laeng no binting
Iti bulsada ket agkiling-kiling
Urnungenda nga pagay-ayam ti tatsing

Agawid ngata ni tata wenno ni nana ita a paskua?
Tapnon maarakupdakami a pamilyana
Umayda iparikna ti nagpaiduma a dungngoda
Uray nakagalutda iti ubra sadiay adayo a daga

Adtoyen ti panagkasangay
Tay naibaon nga umay mangtarabay
O pada a tattao, ikurimedtay pay lang ni liday
Umaykan paskua, ay, umaykan ala

Sagidem daytoy puso a maul-ulila.

Paskua Manen–by Marceos Ibasan

Ti rabii ket atiddogen
Pul-oy ti angin nalamiisen
Narimat dagiti naraniag a bituen
Sinyales dagitoy, paskua manen!..

Marnekka a maturog
Wen ta appayaunayen ti busbussog
Ngem no agriingka iti bigat
Gapu’t lamiis, agkursing ti lalat

Disyembre ket diak pulos isukat
a bulan daytoy a napnuan gasat,
Ngamin ni Apo Jesus ket nayanak
Isu a rumbeng nga inta’y agrambak..

Ngarud, panawen ti panagkaykaysa,
Panag-iinnayat, pinagkakadua,..
Lipatentayon iti gurang-gura,
Ngamin daytoy ti pudno a paskua..

A fellow Ilocano Bedan writes

Glenn George G. Cajigal, former Vice Mayor of Badoc town, writes via e-mail:

I READ your column on Ilocano Bedans and Red Lions Fans. I am a Bedan and I really love to watch the NCAA games, especially those that are played in by the San Beda Red Lions, the number one team in the league right now.

You were able to mention some Bedans in our province. Allow me to add to your list. I know a few like Vice Mayor Allan Nalupta of Batac, his brother Brgy. Chairman Thirdee Nalupta, and their cousin Charles Nalupta. There is also a certain Pinong of Batac who happens to be my classmate in CAS Batch ‘93. Then there’s Mr. Allan Lao of Laoag City, Atty. Angel Miranda Jr., and Elmer Rubio of Badoc. My family members also belong to the Bedan community: my dad Judge Novato Cajigal (San Beda Law), my brothers Marcus and Novato Jr. are sons of Mendiola, too.

Herdy, I like your idea about creating an organization of Bedans in our province. Just let me know and am very much willing to help and support you. Thanks and more power.

Herdy’s Riknakem: Looking forward to working with you, brother. Salamat for your support. Animo!

Ananda, is Marcos a hero or a villain?


Dear Ananda,

On September 21, you will turn three. To us, your family, that day will always be a great cause for joy. You came to the world and brought color to our dull lives.

As a child, you are carefree, fun-loving and adventurous. Your cheerful disposition and ready smile makes you a friend to all, both young and old. Fittingly enough, your name means “Eternal bliss”.

But happiness is not what many Filipinos associate with the day of your birth. It is, at most, a day in question.

When I was still working in Manila, we would usually spend September 21 by vilifying Ferdinand Marcos, the iron hand behind Martial Law-—recounting him as a sinister dictator, a scary monster, a shame. The younger generation of Filipinos, apathetic they seemed to be, were admonished not to forget the lessons of Edsa and to value their freedoms.

When I moved here in Ilocos and taught at MMSU, the story was totally different. Everyone was lamenting at how Manila-based historians, academics, and opinion makers have been very unkind to Marcos. My colleagues, who conducted a research on how the common Ilocano recounts Marcos, attest that people here only have words of adulation on the greatness, sincerity, and visionary leadership of this great son of the North.

Was Marcos a hero? Twenty years ago, the answer was an easy NO. In 1986, Marcos was sent into exile and the nation heralded the dawn of a new era in Philippine democracy.

As I write this piece, it is September 11, the birthday of Henry Yumul—my kuya, your lolo. But it is also the birth anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos, and for which reason this day has been declared a special non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte by virtue of a presidential proclamation. Justifying the declaration, Malacañang said that it meant to “exemplify the leadership of the former president to be emulated by all leaders, youth and the future generation”.

You see, Ananda, yesterday’s villain could be today’s hero. Sociologist Peter Berger was right: the past is malleable and flexible, changing as our recollection interprets and re-explains what has happened.

This is also true in the case of Erap Estrada, an ex-convict. In 2001, he was booted out of office on allegations of corruption. Today, however, Erap sounds like a statesman when he speaks, and Gloria Arroyo makes it possible. With corruption many times more rampant and unabashed in the present presidency, Erap now looks like a saint, and our people begin to look at Edsa 2 as a big mistake.

Don’t get confused, Ananda, Edsa 1 is different from Edsa 2. In fact, we even had a third version. This is not unexpected in a country in perpetual search of a Messiah. When Cory Aquino assumed office, everyone was in high hopes. It looked like the rebirth of a new Philippines. Alas, Cory missed that chance. Our economy dipped further, and the nation was in for more darkness, not only because of the frequent power outages during her term but more because our people, failed with their expectations, felt like flies that jumped out of the pan and into the fire. The people thought Marcos was the enemy and that everything will turn out right without him. They were wrong.

Still, Cory Aquino, simply by ousting Marcos (thanks to a disloyal military, the church, and the US of A), has been extolled several times as a hero, landing in the cover of Time Magazine, and being listed alongside Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and the Dalai Lama as Asian greats. Never mind that the Mendiola massacre that killed militant farmers happened during her time, and never mind that a toothless land reform program resulted to the death of tenants in the Cojuangco family’s Hacienda Luisita.

Fidel Ramos came later and promised us the gateway to dream paradise that was Philippines 2000. The life and of Mang Pandoy (God bless his soul!) is a sad proof that we were, then again, just taken for a ride. Then Erap, then Gloria… until the next Messiah. The 2010 elections is just around the corner and candidates are now beginning to posture themselves as the hope, the answer, the future. I have a suspicion that Juan de la Cruz will again fall in the same trap of empty promises and blatant lies. Redemption remains elusive.

The Marcoses are back in power and in style. Imelda who, to this day, is innocent in the eyes of the law, remains graceful as a swan. She has bounced back in good form. The Marcos children and kin have returned to power as well. They have moved on.

But how about Cory? It escapes me, Ananda, why Cory Aquino, to this day, cannot find it in her heart to forgive the soldiers who were implicated in the assassination of his husband 25 years ago. We all know that those lowly soldiers, if indeed they participated in Ninoy’s murder (the solicitor general opines that they did not), were just pawns of still undetermined masterminds. These foot soldiers have languished in jail for over two decades, and their families have tremendously suffered as well. Cory has become president, her son Noynoy is now a senator, and Kris Aquino has long been torturing us with her annoying presence on television—what else could Cory ask for?

Meanwhile, the remains of Marcos remain in a refrigerated crypt. His being laid to rest still depends on public opinion and political alliances. Erap would have given a green light to a decent Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani had he not chickened out to public opinion. If only Erap knew that he would be ousted anyway, he would have done that one brave act. It appears that the Marcoses are now allied with the Arroyo administration, but the president from Pampanga has enough controversy to last for ten lifetimes, the least that she needs is another reason to be hated all the more. “It doesn’t matter the place anymore at this point in time. If you’re a bayani [hero], you are a bayani wherever you are,” intimated Imelda Marcos recently. You see, wisdom comes with age. Hey, don’t ask me about Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales. Of course, there are always exceptions.

Love is known to defy reason. It is enough to think that Marcos loved us Ilocanos dearly, and that it is but fit that we show our love for him in return. Marcos was no saint. Like everyone else, he too had his own share of excesses and shortcomings, but to say that all he did was evil sure sounds unfair. You will soon be aware that we, members of your family, also have our own share of follies. I am confident though that our love for each other is enough to help us see the best in each one. Be inspired by our feats but make sure you learn from our mistakes.

But let’s call a spade a spade. To me, at least, Marcos was an outstanding social architect. He knew just exactly what he wanted for our country and he had a blueprint on how things can get done. From infrastructure to participatory democracy to Cultural Revolution to educational reforms and values reorientation, Marcos did more than his fair share. One of my students at MMSU commented that Marcos was not a good leader because everything he did was only for selfish ends. It made me wonder if the student knew that his enjoyment of excellent education in the state university is due to the late president’s labor. It is either that his remark was born of ignorance or that his English professor needs to clarify what “selfishness” means.

What then is the truth about Marcos? “There are no truths, only interpretations”, says the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. To tell the truth is to tell a lie. We Ilocanos have every right to write our own version of history, but we have no right to brand other versions as lies. There are as many truths as there are many people who search for it.

You can only convince a person whose loved one disappeared for eternity (desaparecido) due to political reasons during Marcos’ time that Martial Law was a gift from heaven as much as you can make people, whose lives Marcos brightened, believe that his regime was a time of darkness.

But even people’s deepest convictions change. Uncle Gerry, who was a student activist during Martial Law, was incarcerated in the 70’s for joining the resistance movement against Marcos. Today, he is one of the staunchest defenders of the former president. You should only talk to Uncle Gerry about Marcos if you have at least five hours to spare, although I still doubt if such time would really be enough for his narrative on the greatness of the man whom Carlos P. Romulo extolled as “The quintessential Filipino”.

I am not sure, Ananda, how your generation would look at Marcos. But let me warn you: don’t believe everything that you read in books. All the more should you be cynical about the information you get from media. Remember that even popes commit mistakes. Yes, you should not even believe everything that I am saying here. As man’s search for truth is a lonely and painful sojourn, we can only provide you with tools of discernment. The world is unkind to the vulnerable and weak of heart.

You were born on September 21, a day of many questions. But when we see you play, hear you laugh, witness you explore the world, and watch you sleep soundly at night, we shed off our cynicism, forget about the painful crisis that besets our land, and begin to believe that, yes, there is still hope.

Ananda, you are an answer.

Happy 3rd birthday, dearest child. We love you.

Agosto, buwan ng ‘Lip Service’?: Patuloy ang pagdedma sa mga katutubong wika



Tuwing sasapit itong buwan ng Agosto, abala ang mga paaralan sa pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa. Programa diyan, patimpalak dito… hindi magkandaugaga ang mga mag-aaral at mga guro sa mga kaganapan.

Nagbago na ang hugis ng Buwan ng Wika. Kung noon ay wikang Filipino lamang ang binibigyang pansin, ngayon ay pinagpupugayan na ang iba’t ibang wika ng ating bansa, na sa huling bilang ay isandaan animnapu’t walo. Walo dito ang mga pangunahing wika, kabilang ang Iluko. Bukod tangi ang pagdiriwang sa taong ito lalo na at ang 2008 ay itinakda ng United Nations bilang pandaigdigang taon ng mga wika.

Ani United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), tunay na mahalaga ang mga wika sa identidad ng mga grupo at indibidwal at ng kanilang mapayapang pakikipamuhay sa isa’t isa. Ang mga ito ay estratehikong sangkap para maging tuluy-tuloy ang pag-unlad at magkaroon ng maayos na pag-uugnayan ang global at lokal na kapaligiran.

Gayunpaman, sa tingin ko ay isa lamang pag-aaksaya ang taunang pagdiriwang na ito kung patuloy na magiging malabo ang papel ng mga katutubong wika sa ating buhay pambansa. “Lip service”, wika nga sa Ingles.

Ayon sa UNESCO, pagkaraan ng ilang henerasyon ay mawawala ang mahigit kalahati ng pitong libong wikang sinasalita sa buong daigdig. Walang isang kapat ng mga wikang ito ang ginagamit ngayon sa mga eskuwelahan at cyberspace, at karamihan ay ginagamit lamang nang panaka-naka.

Minsan ay sinubukan kong pasulatin ng sanaysay ang aking mga mag-aaral gamit ang Iluko. Ito ay sinalubong ng maingay na pagtutol. “Nagrigat, sir! English lattan”, kanilang protesta. Ako ay nalungkot ngunit akin silang naunawaan. Ako man ay hirap din sa pagsusulat sa Iluko. Ang totoo ay tinangka kong isulat ang kolum na ito sa Iluko ngunit makalipas ang limang oras at limang tasa ng kape ay dalawang talata lamang ang aking natapos at hindi pa ako nasiyahan sa kinalabasan.

Bakit nga ba hirap tayong gamitin ang wikang kinagisnan maliban sa payak na pang—araw-araw na huntahan?

Sa isang sanaysay, inilahad ni Propesor Randy David, ang pangunahing sosyologo ng atingbansa (at naging guro ko sa Diliman), ang kasagutan. Narito ang ilang bahagi ng kanyang diskurso:

“Ang pag-unlad ng wika at ang pag-usbong ng kamalayan ay magkakabit. Pareho ang kanilang ugat–ang pangangailangang makipag-usap… Habang lumalawak at lumalalim ang kamalayan, yumayaman din ang wikang ginagamit. Kung mababaw ang kamulatan, sapagkat hindi naging malakas at madalas ang udyok na makipag-usap, mananatili ring payak ang ginagamit na wika.

“Kapag ang wikang katutubo ay nagagamit lamang kaugnay ng maliliit at walang halagang bagay, at ang wikang dayuhan ang nakakasanayang gamitin sa mas mataas na uri ng talastasan – ang wikang katutubo’y nabubusabos habang ang dayuhang wika’y namumukod. Sa kalaunan, ang karamihan ay mag-iisip na sadyang nasa katutubong wika ang kakulangan. Kung walang nagpupunyaging isalin sa katutubong wika ang mahahalagang literatura at produktong intelektwal ng mga dayuhang kultura, iisipin ng marami na may likas na kakapusan ang ating sariling wika, at walang ibang lunas kundi pagsikaping pag-aralan ang wikang dayuhan.

“Walang wikang umuunlad kung hindi ito naisusulat at nababasa. Walang wikang umuunlad kung ito’y hindi sinasanay na maglulan ng mga produkto ng kamalayan at iba’t-ibang kaisipang hango sa maraming kultura. Kailangang makipag-usap ang ating katutubong wika sa mga wika ng ibang bansa, sa halip na isantabi ito, sa maling pag-aakalang hindi na ito angkop sa bagong panahon.”

Malaki sana ang magagawa ng pamahalaan upang isulong ang paggamit ng mga wikang katutubo sa pambansang pagmumulat at sa global na pakikipagtalastasan. Batid ng mga pulitiko ang kahalagahan ng ating mga katutubong wika sa mabisang pagpapahayag ng damdamin at kaisipan. Hindi nga ba’t tuwing halalan ay vernakular ang kanilang ginagamit upang suyuin ang taumbayan?

Ating maaalala na wika ang isa sa mga naging isyu nuong tumakbo sa pagkagobernador si Apo Michael Keon, hindi daw kasi siya bihasa sa Iluko sa kabila ng maraming taon na niyang paglilingkod sa lalawigan. Ngunit nakita naman ang pagsisikap ni Keon na magsalita sa ating katutubong wika. Headline sa TV Patrol Laoag noon kung paano niya isanaulo (at nalimutan sa kalagitnaan ng pagbibigkas) ang isang talumpating isinulat sa Iluko. Subalit ngayong siya ay nasa puwesto na, tuwing maririnig kong magsalita ang butihing gobernador ay Ingles na ang kanyang ginagamit, at hindi na siya nakalilimot.

Si Gng. Gloria Arroyo man ay nakinabang sa kanyang kakayanang magsalita sa iba’t ibang wikang Pinoy. Pinaniniwalaang bahagi ng kanyang popularidad sa Kabisayaan ay bunsod ng kanyang kakayanang mag-Bisaya. Bagama’t hindi ako maka-Gloria, aaminin kong napahanga niya ako at nahaplos ang aking puso nang minsa’y dumalo siya sa pista ng Laoag at nagtalumpati gamit ang Iluko.

Ngunit sa kabuuan, etsapuwera ang ating mga katutubong wika sa ating mga panlipunang institusyon. Nakalulungkot na sa mga session hall sa kapitolyo at sa mga munisipyo, sa ating mga hukuman, at sa ating mga paaralan, Ingles pa rin ang pangunahing daluyan ng talastasan. Kung tunay na masang Pilipino ang pinaglilingkuran ng ating mga lider, ano ang pangangailangan ng paggamit ng wikang banyaga sa paglilingkod-bayan?

Noong 2003, si Gng. Arroyo, sa bisa ng Executive Order No. 210 na may pamagat na “Establishing the Policy to Strengthen the Use of the English Language as a Medium of Instruction in the Educational System”, ay nag-atas na ibalik ang Ingles bilang pangunahing wikang panturo.

Dahilan ng pangulo: Our English literacy, our aptitude and skills give us a competitive edge in ICT.

Subalit marami nang mga pag-aaral ang naisagawa, kabilang na rito ang mga pananaliksik ng UNESCO at ng mga Pilipinong iskolar tulad nila Bro. Andrew Gonzales at Dr. Bonifacio Sibayan, na nagpapatunay na ang paggamit sa unang lengguwahe o wikang kinagisnan ay lubos na nakatutulong sa pang-unawa ng mga mag-aaral sa mga mahahalagang konsepto maging sa mga asignaturang agham at matematika.

Patunay dito ang resulta ng Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) na ginawa noong 1999 kung saan ang Pilipinas ay pang-38 sa Math at pang-40 sa Science sa kabuuang 41 na lumahok na bansa. Ito ay sa kabila ng pagtuturo ng agham at matematika sa wikang Ingles sa loob ng mahigit na isang siglo. Maaari namang maging mahusay sa science at math kahit ito’y hindi itinuturo sa Ingles. Patunay dito ang karanasan ng Tsina, Hapon, at Rusya.

Patung-patong ang mga suliraning kinakaharap ng ating sistema ng edukasyon. Nariyan ang laganap na katiwalian, pulitika, at idagdag pa rito ang hindi sapat na budget na inilalaan para dito. Lubos na di-makatarungan na isisi sa paggamit ng mga katutubong wika ang mababang performans ng ating mga mag-aaral. Sa tingin ko ay sasang-ayon dito si Propesor Janet Rivera, ang masigasig na direktor ng Panrehiyong Sentro ng Wikang Filipino na nakabase sa MMSU.

Ayon pa rin sa mga pananaliksik, ang paggamit ng unang lengguwahe ay tulay din upang matutunan ang pangalawang lengguwahe at ang mga wikang banyaga. Bilang halimbawa, ang isang Ilocanong matatas sa wikang Iluko ay mas madaling matututo ng wikang Filipino. Ang pagiging bihasa sa Iluko at Filipino ay tulay naman upang matutunan ang mga banyagang wika tulad ng Ingles, Mandarin o Pranses. Sa wari ko, ang isang taong hindi nilinang ang sarili sa wikang kanyang kinagisnan ay magiging palpak sa kanyang pakikipagtalastasan kahit anumang wika ang kanyang gamitin. Ang dila niya ay walang pinanghuhugutan.

Sa isang bansang watak-watak, hindi lamang sa heograpiya, kundi pati na sa pulitika, ideolohiya, at pananampalataya, malaki ang maaaring gampanang papel ng wika sa pagtatamo ng pagkakaisa. Ngunit, hindi ito nangyayari, bagkus ay pinapalala pa ng mababang pagtingin sa ating mga katutubong wika ang hidwaan sa pagitan ng mayaman at mahirap, edukado at hindi, taga-Maynila at promdi.

Minsan sa isang mall, nasaksihan ko ang isang pagtatalo. Sa gitna ng kanilang di-pagkakaunawaan, pinaulanan ng isang kostumer ng sangkatutak na malalalim na Ingles ang saleslady. Ang kawawang saleslady ay hindi na nakaimik. Sa eksenang ito, malinaw na ipinabatid ng kostumer na hindi sila magkalebel at siya ang tama sapagkat marunong siyang mag-Ingles. Ipinamukha ng kostumer na mangmang ang saleslady dahil katutubong wika lamang ang gamit niya. Nababagabag ang aking kalooban tuwing nakasasaksi ako ng mga ganitong eksena. Hindi ba dapat sa panahon ng di pagkakaunawaan ay mas lalo pang gamitin ang wikang makapaghahatid ng malinaw na mensahe?

May isang mambabasa ang nagbigay ng komento sa akin: ang galing mo palang magsulat. Bilib ako sa’yo. Ang lalalim ng mga ginagamit mong salita sa English. Hindi ko nga maintindihan e! Idol talaga kitang mag-English para kang abugado.

Hindi ko ikinatuwa ang komento, bagkus ay nalungkot ako. Una, dahil hindi ako lubos na naiintindihan ng mambabasa. Ito ay isang kabiguan sa bahagi ng isang manunulat tulad ko. Ikalawa, tila tanggap na ng taong iyon na ang paggamit ng nakaka-nosebleed na Ingles ay kaakibat na ng mga mahahalagang propesyon tulad ng abugasya. Kung ikaw ay may kasong kinakaharap, biktima ka man o nasasakdal, hindi ka ba mangngamba na ang iyong kinabukasan ay pinagtatalunan sa hukuman gamit ang isang wikang hindi mo lubos na nauunawaan?

Dalawa ang maaaring maging pananaw sa pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wika. Maaari itong tignan bilang “kaarawan” ng isang buhay at yumayabong na wika. Sa kabilang banda, tila ito ay isa nang lamay para sa mga katutubong wikang walang habas na kinikitil ng patuloy na pagsasaisantabi hindi lamang ng ating mga lider pampulitika ngunit pati na rin ng bawat mamamayang masahol pa sa malansang isdang nagpupumilit kumahol. ###

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“Ma’am ana’t English ti pastor?”, saludsod ti maysa nga estudyante iti unibersidad.

(Nagmalanga ni maestra gapu ta Ingles met ti sao a “pastor”, isu nga impagarupna a “synonym” iti sallsaludsoden diay estudyante.)

“‘Preacher’, barok”, insungbat ni Maestra.

“Tenkyu ngarud, Ma’am”, panagyaman daydiay estudyante.

Idi panagipasaanen iti paper, daytoy ti insurat daydiay ubing:

“My father is a pritcher of animals. He pritchers carabaos, cows, and goats in the farm.”

Ito ay isang tunay na pangyayaring ibinahagi sa akin ni katotong Marlyn Cacatian, kapwa guro ko sa MMSU. Natawa ako nung marinig ko itong kuwento, ngunit nang humupa ang tawanan,

…ako ay nabagabag.