The biggest story I wrote this 2013 was the dismissal of 3 high school students because they spoke Ilokano on campus. Run by foreign Christan missionaries, the school strictly implements an English-only policy.
As fate would have it (or is it destiny?), that high school’s best bet in oratorical competitions, now a freshman in the university where I teach, became one of my debaters. He is a prized find. Very diligent. Eager to learn. Fun. Charming. And respectful.
Recently, ehem, we emerged as champion in a debate tournament with Ilocano as the main medium.
And guess who was hailed as best debater?
More than the trophy and prize, and the bragging rights that go with it, I am happy that a student, previously barred from speaking his mother tongue on campus, could shine and show the world that wisdom is no monopoly of any language. And that Ilocano could, and, in fact, should, be used for intellectual endeavors.
Congratulations, John Marvin Galat aka Jamjam. We–I, your kuyas and ate in the MMSU Debate Society–are proud of you.
Agbiag ni Ilocano! Narambak a baro a tawentayo, kakabsat.