Tuesday, March 4, 2008

We are a Dying People

It is time to defy Surian ng Wikang Pambansa and tell it to their faces that we, the non-Tagalog people will survive. Extinction and marginalization of other Philippine languages is not the future I want to bequeath to my children. Now is the time to act:

RP’s ethnic languages dying, Pimentel warns

MANILA, Philippines -- Except for Tagalog, which has been mandated by law and the Constitution as basis of the country’s national language, the country’s other ethnic languages are dying, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said.

In a privilege speech earlier this week, Pimentel called on the government to save these ethnic languages from extinction by allowing them to be used as a medium of instruction in elementary schools in the respective regions where they are widely spoken.

“Now is the time to make the first move to revise the curriculum of our educational system so that we can allow the use of the local languages as the medium of instruction in our grade schools. Our other major languages are dying. We have to save them now,” he said.

The senator cited data showing that Tagalog users have steadily increased in number from 19 percent of the population in 1948 to 29.30 percent in 1995.

In contrast, users of other ethnic languages are declining from the same period: Cebuano from 25 percent to 21.17 percent; Iloko, from 12 percent to 9.31 percent; Hiligaynon from 12 percent to 9.11 percent; Bicol from 8 percent to 5.69 percent; Waray from 6 percent to 3.81 percent; Kapampangan from 3 percent to 2.90 percent; and Pangalatok from 3 percent to 1 percent....

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