The Ibanag Mother-Tongue Based – Multi-Lingual Education (MTB-MLE) program is set to be implemented next month in 15 municipalities and two cities in Cagayan and Isabela, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said.
Binay, founding chairman of the Ibanag Heritage Foundation Inc. (IHFI), said the program will be rolled out in San Pablo, Cabagan, Tumauini, Santo Tomas, Santa Maria, Gamu, Naguilian, Reina Mercedes and the City of Ilagan in Isabela. Pamplona, Abulug, Aparri, Camalaniugan, Lallo, Iguig, Solana and Tuguegarao City in Cagayan.
“We are targeting a total of 34 pilot schools for the implementation – one central and one barangay school in each of the selected nine localities in Isabela and eight in Cagayan,” Binay said.
“The pilot implementation of the MTB-MLE Program is line with (Department of Education) Secretary Armin Luistro’s approval of our request to have the Ibanag language included in the native tongues to be used in DepEd’s MTB-MLE program this year,” he added.
The Vice President wrote Luistro in March and recommended the inclusion of Ibanag, the lingua franca of the Cagayan Valley region, in the MTB-MLE program.
Binay has Ibanag roots. His mother, Lourdes Gatan Cabauatan, is from Cabagan.
He said that Phase I of the program, consisting of dialect survey and the workshop for both Cagayan and Isabela teachers, is scheduled for the second week of July.
“We are focusing on developing a robust set of indigenized instructional materials that would be easy for the teachers to teach and the students to learn,” he said.
He thanked the Indigenous Peoples’ Education Office (IPsEO) and DepEd Region II, particularly IPsEO chief Rozanno Rufino and DepEd R-2 OIC Dr. Corazon Barrientos, for their “very active support to reviving the Ibanag language.”
“The official inclusion of the Ibanag language in the MTB-MLE program of DepEd is a big step in the IHFI’s efforts to increase the number of native speakers and preserve the language,” he said.
The IHFI previously identified ten program areas to ensure the preservation of the Ibanag culture: the language, history, folklore and literature, cuisine, historical and religious landmarks. Tourist spots, festivals and traditions, indigenous industries, endemic flora and fauna, and people-to-people partnership with local and foreign cultural organizations.
Meanwhile, the Vice President said the soft launch of the Ibanag Museum and Library at the 4th floor of Tuguegarao City Hall, is set for August 16, to coincide with the celebration of the Tuguegarao City fiesta.#