OPINION: Our Redemptive Response to the Timeless Temptations of Tagalogism …(Cont.)

With the illogical isomorphism in that equation Tagalog=Pilipino/Filipino—a curious thing that many knowledgeable linguists would reject for its flawed claims in a bioculturally diverse country like the Philippines—Tagalogism and Tagalogization have become the official path to creating the ‘new’ Philippine nation-state, a political dream that was valorized when the center of power came to Imperial Manila with the blessings of all the colonizers and their allies and collaborators, a political dream nevertheless that was also dreamed of by many ‘nations’ of the Philippines in the Visayas, especially when they declared their own republic that antedated any claims to an imagined Tagalog republic. In the North—in the Amianan—was the Candon Republic.

With the center of power—the axis of all power that remained undistributed until today – unable to communicate with those beyond that center for either because of lack of motivation as in the case of Quezon and all those other Quezons that came after him or because of linguistic and cultural incompetence, the center of power thus served as the French of France, the Madrid Spanish of Spain, the English of London, and the German of Berlin and elsewhere. Thus inaugurated the Tagalogization of all peoples of the Philippines, at least from the perspective of the sitting president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines at that time. Read through the proceedings of the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention—but read the Jose P. Laurel version published by Lyceum of the Philippines, a version with only one copy at the Laurel Foundation Library. The other version published by the House of Representatives more than 30 years after the ratification of the 1935

Constitution is not as complete as the Laurel version.

The sentiments against what some people term ‘chauvinism in regional languages’ or ‘regionalism’ and that fossilized call for a ‘national’ language that is in league with other things ‘national’ such as a ‘national’ animal and a ‘national bird’ and a ‘national’ flower and a ‘national dress’ come to view when we look at the intents and purpose of the 2008 Multilingual Education and Literacy Act of the Philippines and the House Bill 3719 of Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo.

No, a people’s language does not operate the way a carabao, the national animal, would. Nor does it operate the way a national flower would like the sampaguita that is now missing, except in lurid streets in Manila where it is vended as a garland for the Child Jesus and the Mother of Perpetual Help.

A language is the abode of a people’s soul, the dwelling place of his sense of self, his sense of the world, and the sense of his dreams for both the present and future, for that present that is also a future. Deprive a people of that language and you have murdered them. Advocates of linguistic rights call this linguicide, or the killing of a language.

Lately, the Linguistic Society of the Philippines, an august body of well-meaning academics and professionals who are in the know about human cognition and its relation to the mother language, human knowledge and its relation to human and societal liberation, and the liberatory power of the language of our souls released a statement supporting literacy education in its multicultural form. We applaud the LSP for doing that.

In May 2008, delegates of 2008 Nakem Conferences held at St. Mary’s University in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, passed a resolution totally supporting HB 3719. That resolution, published in a scanned form at the Nakem Conferences website, was handed over personally to Rep. Gunigundo in July 2008, at a consultative assembly participated in by Nakem Conferences.

The participants of the 2008 Nakem Conferences understood where multicultural education should begin: in their classrooms. That was their rationale for the endorsement of the Gunigundo legislative initiative.

With the abominable cultural denigration that is happening in the Philippines—with many Filipinos (except the Tagalogs and Tagalogized) being made to behave and think and view the world as Tagalogs and these same people looking down upon their own mother languages and their own cultures and the peoples who do not behave and think and view the world like Tagalogs—the teachers and academics and cultural workers of Nakem Conferences saw that HB 3719 is the only way to go to once-and-for-all claim for the peoples of the Amianan and all other peoples of the Philippines the fruits of linguistic democracy and cultural justice.

  (To be continued)