Implications of the Dearth of Iluko Children’s Literature
Summarized from their individual responses, it is gleaned from the table that the culprit of the dearth of Iluko children’s literature lies among the Ilokano writer’s selective writing and compounded by the publisher’s intolerance. Many claimed that it is much difficult to write materials for the children because it entails a lot of scrutiny, leveling, and understanding of the nature, needs and interests of children. This is an affirmation of their earlier declaration that this deficiency or ‘malaise” is an offshoot of many intervening factors. Two lucid negative effects of this dearth of Iluko children’s literature are the readers ( read: the children) accumulated ignorance and non-familiarization of their unique culture and worse, cultural indifference. This could support the claim of several scholars that children of Ilokano and Tagalog parentage speak Tagalog at home, not Iluko even though they are residing in the dominantly Iluko-speaking provinces.
Children should be all out supported. It is their very right to enjoy their childhood. It is through this stage that they develop their values, study habits and self-concept. One important role of parents is to assist their children form sound writing and reading habits. Everybody knows that reading sharpens the intellectual discourse of the learner aside from offering many therapeutic advantages. The provision of good reading materials, suitable to their maturity is just like bringing them to places where they personally encounter rich and meaningful experiences. Now, if many children are denied of this right, i.e. they do not enjoy their childhood, this would result to intellectual immaturity, worse, stagnated maturity. One significant ramification of it would include stifled interest in reading. The effect is disastrous. To expound it, just imagine a place where children discard books from their shelves and substitute them with computer games and other modern gadgets.
A very lethal scenario that may happen if there is continued non-writing of Iluko children’s literature by the Ilokano writers and refusal of children to engage in productive reading of children’s literature is the miseducation of the children which may sooner evolve the early demise of the Iluko literature and/or language.
The advent of so many computer generated games, internet service providers will surely make the scenario something to be fearful about. If that happens, it’s not only the Ilokano children who will suffer, but also our young populace all over the Philippines who would be totally alien to our cultural identities.
The following conclusions are drawn out from the study:
Most of the Ilokano writer-respondents are male and married senior citizens; they hail from the Ilocos provinces and started their writing craft as early as 1950s but comprise different writing generations. Sad to note is their rare joining of writing workshops sponsored by many foundations, that resulted to writing concentration of fiction and poetry which are published mostly in Bannawag. However, they are members of the GUMIL Filipinas and keep on serving as consultants/ advisers of school publications. With all of these attributes, the Ilokano writers continue to win literary awards both local and International, sometimes joining Internet based contests.
Though many of the Ilokano writers claimed that there is a dearth of Iluko children’s literature, still they scantily write stories for children due to many personal and professional reasons of which time, limited knowledge and publication outlet are identified to be the causes. The result then is the publication/ production of very limited materials for children that may heighten their cultural indifference, and become ignoramuses of their own identities. The worst thing to occur would be the early demise of the Ilokano language and literature.
Based from the results of the study, the following actions are recommended:
1. Total and satisfying children’s growth and development should be the first consideration of every writer. When he writes, he must think of his most important reader – the child.
2. In order to further strengthen the writing skills of the Ilokano writers, especially along the production of children’s literature, foundations or academes/ institutes must provide slots to Ilokano writers as cultural grantees. The University of the Philippines, Institute for Creative writing must bring back that slot to the Ilokano writers.
3. The national organization of Ilokano writers ( the GUMIL Filipinas) must embark more strategies to motivate young generations to hone their writing skills by undertaking free seminar workshops in coordination with different school publications.
4. Advocacies that promote the publication of stories for children should be undertaken and disseminated. In doing so, Bannawag and other Iluko magazines should re-open a section for children’s literature.
5. Foundations and literary patrons and even the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino should open contest that are child-friendly; that is, stories for children and the like should be the theme or focus of the contest.
6. To those who work for the promotion of children’s interests, they should start collecting/ compiling published Iluko stories and the like, and make them into books which will be distributed to different libraries.
7. Further studies should be undertaken to assess the extent of impact of this deficiency (dearth of Iluko children’s stories) to the young generation.#