Ilocano language, culture, literature

Monday, April 09, 2007

GMA's Exec. Order #210 (2003) is Unconstitutional

Rebbengna a paulo: Multa: Saan a Rabrabac No Isawang Iti Ilocano

Idi Abril 8, 2007, nagsuratac cadagiti gagayyem nga ibilangco a teddec ti comunidad dagiti Ilocano:

I came across a forum thread (dap-ayan) at which claims that students in Ilocandia are being fined five pesos apiece when they're caught talking in their native Ilocano in school. Is this true? If it is, it's sad.

What authority or law or order, may I ask, is used to justify the fines? I have a hunch they're using Presidential Executive Order # 210 of May 17, 2003, as implemented by DepEd Memo. #189 of June 2003 and DepEd Order #36 of Aug. 22, 2006, which provides that:

  1. English shall be taught as a second language starting with Grade I;
  2. As provided for in the 2002 Basic Education Curriculum, English shall be used as the medium of instruction for English, Mathematics and Science and Health starting Grade III; and
  3. The English language shall be used as the primary medium of instruction in all public and private schools in the secondary level, including those established as laboratory and/or experimental schools, and vocational/technical institutions. As the primary medium of instruction, the percentage of time allotment for learning areas (English, Science, Mathematics, Technology & Livelihood Education, Music, Arts, PE & Health and Citizenship Advancement Training) conducted in English language should not be less than 70% of the total time allotment for all learning areas in all year levels.

Filipino is to be used as the medium of instruction in the remaining 30% which includes Filipino, Araling Panlipunan & Edukasyon sa Pagpapahalaga.

Of course you and I know that these implementing orders are in violation of Section 7 of Article 14 of the 1987 Constitution which provides, among other things, that "The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein."

Any insight into this?

Here are some of the responses I got:

Sun, 8 Apr 2007 16:13:22: Sungbat ni Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Professor ti the University of Hawaii at Manoa ken coordinator ti NAKEM Conference:

So many of us are pissed off by this ignorance about education, culture, and language. Right now, there is a campaign that we are initiating to force KWF/DECS/CHED and other uninformed sectors of government to declare the first eight major languages as national languages. This continuing tagalogization and Englishization of our consciousness is unconscionable.

Enough olredi, kunada ditoy Honolulu. And we will rally behind this campaign. Let us start with Ilokano, but not at the expense of the other languages.

I am not so sure of the basis of such an order from the Deped--and let me ask around.

In the meantime, we have a brilliant mind in Raymund Addun and I hope we will get to exchange ideas more and more. Ray is in Spain for scholarship but I understand he is also pissed off.

Being pissed off is one clear epistemological frame that teaches us action. We can only pray for guidance and grace now even as we say that we cannot just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Sun, 8 Apr 2007 18:42:46: Sungbat ni Jimmy M. Agpalo, Jr., Editor, Tawid News Magasin:

Dinekadan ti napalabas sipud idi, amami ida...

Idi siak ti hayskul nasuroken a duapulo a tawen ti napalabas, piso ti bayad... binting pay laeng ti pasahe ti traysikel idi...

Diak ammo no ania ti turongen daytoy a konsepto... idinto a naglawagan a ti kalakaan a panangilawlawag iti leksion ket ti bukod a dila...

Makabannog pay ketdin daytoy a diskusion....

Sun, 8 Apr 2007 21:54:50: Sungbat ni Djuna Alcantara, President-GUMIL La Union ken Secretary-General, GUMIL Filipinas:

This is indeed a touchy issue, especially for DepEd people. That's why we invited people from the academe to share with us their insights during one of our fora at the GF Convention (although no specific time for this). We will update you on this, soon.

Mon, 9 Apr 2007 03:09:25: Sungbat ni Joel B. Manuel, premiado a mannurat ken mangisuro iti Banna High School, Banna, Ilocos Norte:

I think it is the bigotry behind all of these which should be erased among the teachers themselves. Based on my gleanings, teachers impose such fine for speaking in the vernacular mainly to have a more disciplined studentry. That may be the case, this is administering aspirin to cure a stomach ache, isn't it?

Those statutes, decreed by the powers who were, powers who are, and the powers that be are intent of erasing cultures and ushering in a hegemony in which our culture will be marginalized. If we look at the case of English being in statute as the official language in all of the United Kingdom, it brought about the marginalization of the Gaelic, the Welsh and other minority languages there. Now, it is these peoples who are taking steps of their own to preserve their language. Quite late but not too late it seems.

We are sorry that we are a nation whose economy is based on the export of our labor, and to be able to export our labor, we must be proficient in the universal language which is English. A sorry state.

But that should not be the reason why we impose those fines, those are baseless and even the mandate of a president should not suppress the rights of a people. Ah, I am powerless, but perhaps it is high time that the GUMIL Filipinas should have a party-list arm, something called Samtoy Party List to tackle on these issues politically. Any comment, manong?

Mon, 9 Apr 2007 04:20:22: Sungbat ni Rolando A. Padre, medical doctor a maysa cadagiti napeclan a nangicalicagum iti computer/Internet project iti public elementary ken secondary schools diay Banban, Bangui, Ilocos Norte:

A long, long time ago, back in elementary school, we also had similar fines imposed. But these fines were in specific classes where probably mastery of the English language or Pilipino was the prime goal. It was not a fine that covered all the times you are in school. One example is during the Pilipino week.

Tue, 10 Apr 2007 08:47:47: Sungbat ni Roy V. Aragon, premiado a mannurat, blogger ken creator ti

mang joe, happy easter, belated...

Agpayso daytoy, Manong Joe. Nabayagen. Idi nagbasaak iti grade school, praktis daytoyen iti eskuelaanmi. Ngem saan a sigud nga ar-aramidenda daytoy a panangirurumen iti Iloko. 1975 idi agbasaak iti grade one ket naabotak pay laeng dagiti sumagmamano a textbook a naisurat iti Iloko. Wen, Iloko dagitoy a libro iti grade one! Ngem idi kuan, katengngaan sa ti panagbasak iti grade 1 idi 1975, nasuktan amin a textbook nga Iloko a maar-aramat iti kabarbaro a textbooks a Tagalog ken English. Isu dagitoy dagitay "Bagong Lipunan" wenno "New Society" textbooks a tunggal libro, iti udina ket naipan pay ti lyrics ti Bagong Lipunan hymn a sinursuromi a kantaen. Ket isu daytan, naibelleng aminen a textbooks nga Iloko ket naisukat dagitoy a bagong lipunan textbooks a kaaduanna a Tagalog. Ngem saanda pay idi nga istrikto kadagiti agsao iti Iloko iti klase. Kinapudnona dagidi teachersmi idi Iloko ti pagisuroda ket isut' gapuna a nalakami a maawatan ken mabiitkami a makasursuro. Ngem idi kuan, idi addaakon iti grade 3, 1977-1978, rugianda metten nga ipapilit ti panagsao iti Tagalog wenno English ket adda multa ti agsao iti Iloko. No diak agriro, 1 sentimo ti kada balikas ti sawem iti Iloko ti multam. Isu a naulimekkami idi aminen no addakam iti uneg ti klase. Adda tudingan ti teacher a paratiliw iti agsao iti Iloko, ilistana ti naganmo ken bilangenna no mano a balikas ti insaom ket isunto ti masingir kenka.

Isu a maysa a tuduek a culprit ti New Society daydi Apo Marcos. Isu ti nangrugianna daytoy a kina-estupido iti kailokuan. Ilokano pay met ngarud ni Marcos ngem apay a pimalubosanna idi ti kastoy a panangidadanes iti bukodna a pagsasao. Maysa siguro kadagiti programa ti Bagong Lipunan idi ti pannakaipakat ti Tagalog kas national language (awan ti sukisokko maipapan itoy, base lang iti padpadasko a nagelementaria daytoy) uray iti kailokuan.

Makunak a kastoy, nga iti panawen ti martial law wenno so-called New Society a nangrugi daytoy, ta sakbayna idi 1960s, awan met ti Tagalog textbooks a kas iti Bagong Lipunan textbooks a naar-aramat. Idi nagbasa ni manongko iti elementaria idi 1963-1968, Iloko dagidi inus-usarda a libroda a kadua dagiti English textbooks. Makunak daytoy ta addada idi nabatbati kadagitoy nga Iloko textbooks nga inar-aramat ni manongko ken inaramatko pay idi siak ti ag-grade 1.

Isu a saan la nga itatta daytoy a kinaranggas iti pagsasao nga Iloko kadagiti pagadalan iti kailokuan. Agtultuloy daytoy a pannakaidadanes ket nakalkaldaang a talaga ta ti govierno a mismo ti mangipakpakat.



Wed, 11 Apr 2007 00:04:32: Sungbat ni Jessie Grace U. Rubrico, language consultant (a Ph. D. in Philippine linguistics at UP, Diliman), website at

Hi Joe,

The SOLFED--Saving Our Languages through FEDeralism--is lobbying for the deletion of the word "auxilliary" in Sec 7 Art 14 of the 1987 Constitution.


Tue, 17 Apr 2007 20:20:44: Sungbat ni Joseph Soriano, mannurat:

It's likely that they're still imposing fines for Iloco-speak at the schools (elem and high school). There's no law, but there's usually the principal or teacher or teacher's pet who thinks English (Tagalog-Filipino doesn't have that certain colonial cache) can only be practiced by such draconian (not to mention stupid) measures.

What they don't realize is that with their authoritarian measures tied to the use of English, they reinforce the perception among kids that English is elitist and therefore not for them Which actually is the reason these kids get racked with a sense of inferiority or rebellion. Result: some don't speak English in casual situations. (When you speak bad English, you're thought to be stupid, and you get laughed at. Hehehe, tell that to Salman Rushdie!)

In "Language planning in multilingual countries: The case of the Philippines ", the late Andrew Gonzalez wrote:

The bilingual education policy of 1974 divided the curriculum into a Filipino domain (Filipino Language and Social Studies) and an English domain (English Language, Mathematics, Science) with the vernaculars as ‘auxiliary media of instruction’. In actual implementation, the vernaculars were used only during the first few weeks of schooling. Instruction using Filipino and English began soon thereafter. During the incumbency of Andrew Gonzalez as Secretary of Education under the Estrada Administration, an attempt was made to revive vernacular teaching through the use of the three major local linguae francae of the Philippines (Ilokano, Cebuano, Tagalog) as media of instruction until Grade 3 and in English thereafter, under the bilingual scheme. The pilot program was conceptualized with the help of specialists in literacy from the Summer Institute of Linguistics. The initial feedback from the pilot schools set up was overwhelmingly positive (the pupils were active, not passive; they asked questions spontaneously instead of answering in monosyllables and phrases in a language they hardly understood, conceptualization especially in mathematics took place almost from the first day of school). Initially, under Undersecretary Isagani Cruz during the Macapagal-Arroyo Administration, the reports from the field were so positive that Undersecretary Cruz mandated the pilot experiment to end and to use the three local linguae francae as initial languages of instruction during the first two years in the entire system. However, policy differences with his superior moved the Undersecretary to resign and the pilot program itself has suffered from ‘benign neglect’.

The problem, therefore, is not for lack of trying to use the regional languages as ‘auxiliary media of instruction’ and concluding that this was good for the students. The problem is President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Executive Order No. 210 of May 17, 2003, which is UNCONSTITUTIONAL for EXCLUDING the rest of Sec. 7, Art. 14 of the 1987 Constitution which provides that "The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein."

Was there ever a constitutional challenge to GMA's Executive Order #210?

I thought the challenge should come properly from the Ilocanos, Cebuanos, etc. Those of us who are engaged in the propagation of the regional languages have the responsibility of keeping the issue alive even after the appropriate action to redress the dire effects of Executive Order #210 is taken. This reminds me of what John Stuart Mill once said:

"A people may prefer a free government, but if, from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when it is directly attacked; if they can be deluded by the artifices used to cheat them out of it; if by momentary discouragement, or temporary panic, or a fit of enthusiasm for an individual, they can be induced to lay their liberties at the feet even of a great man, or trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions; in all these cases they are more or less unfit for liberty: and though it may be for their good to have had it even for a short time, they are unlikely long to enjoy it."

I believe that eternal vigilance is required and there have to be people who step up to the plate, who believe that Ilocano should be in the educational agenda as the initial medium of instruction at least in the primary and/or secondary schools where Ilocano is spoken by the majority, and there have to be people who are willing to fight for it.

I have made my sentiments on the issue known as best I could and will continue to do so. I urge you to do the same.


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