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The Case of Ilokano as a National Language (Last Part)

(Note: This is a copy of my email to Mr. Manuel Faelnar, Vice President for Metro Manila of SOLFED (Saving Our Languages Through Federalism), and who kindly found a way to hook me up with Dr. Jose V. Abueva, former President of the University of the Philippines and now President of Kalayaan College in Marikina City, the Philippines. Dr. Abueva, through Mr. Faelnar, sent a copy of his “Kapunongang Bisaya in the Global Filipino Nation: A Proposal” to which I am reacting and commenting. I share these comments I emailed to Mr. Faelnar.)

Dear Manuel,

I read with openness of heart and soul Dr Abueva’s proposal for the KB.

I must say the whole concept is laudable except for the following flaws:

1. It is not critical enough of the manipulations by law and history and by political and cultural leaders in the ‘officialization’ of Tagalog as P/Filipino. I dare say it does not unmask the lies and ruses of Tagalog being passed off as ‘the national language’.

This, to me, is a disservice and it results in the next point, ie.,

2. the notion of ‘incorporation’ of Binisaya terms (Dr. Abueva’s term). The very notion of incorporation itself needs revisiting because of the fact that P/Filipino as a national language has remained structurally the same as Tagalog (ie., grammar, syntax, semantic configuration, etc.) and thus, in reality, this P/Filipino is in reality, a DIALECT of Tagalog and NOT a national language. When two ‘languages’ can perfectly understand each other, one is NOT a language but a DIALECT. The historical and linguistic primacy of Tagalog would then logically render this presumptuous ‘P/Filipino’ as a dialect of Tagalog. Ask a Linguistics 101 student and he tells you this simple fact of language and how it is different from a dialect. So the national language ‘P/Filipino’ is a dialect? My good guess is that we have been hoodwinked by policymakers including language teachers and educators, not to mention the ignorant political leaders who do not know any better but have the power to ram into our throats their own brand of skewed truth on how to build a nation based, among others, on one and only one national language.

This is a Marcosian tactic and it is ideologically grounded on thought control and Gulagization.

This leads me to point three:

3. How did it ever happen that we gave ‘citizenship’ to the Tagalog language when in reality, the Marcos and Cory constitutions are conceptually clear about what the ‘national language’ is supposed to be?

Which brings me to point four:

4. How is it that to form a nation, there should only be one and only one national language? Who decreed that? Are we not learning from the flaws of Western history that gas-chambered their other languages in an Aryanist streak and fit for purity so that the Western nations can become nations? Is this not the wrong model to follow?

Which brings me to point 5:

5. Federalization — your Solfed’s position—is one way to go and we must fight it out that: 1. Filipino as a national language ought to end up masquerading as Tagalog; and 2. We must opt for more than one national language. Fair is fair. Justice must be served. We have done a lot of linguistic and cultural injustices to our people. It is high time that we realized that we have all been a party to this continued serving of injustice.

Lastly, I buy your Solfed’s position—and we must push for that one.

I have no problem with the 1987 Constitution mandate on Filipino as a national language. I guess that Dr. Abueva had a hand in that. My worry is that the Constitution has to be good with what it clearly provides. We need to account those who are passing off the lies and ruses—and we need to deal with the spirit and intent of the Constitution otherwise we all go haywire. Or we ask for amendment if need be to serve the ends of justice, fairness and linguistic and cultural democracy. Linguistic tyranny and cultural dictatorship must be recognized even if these are in guises—and effectively so.

Hats off—the anitos will bless you and Solfed.#

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