‘Traitor to the national language’

Protesters call for the resignation of Commission on Higher Education chair Patricia Licuanan as the agency pushes the abolition of Filipino as a college subject.


MANILA – Some 500 Filipino language professors, students and national language advocates protested at the office of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) in Quezon City on Nov. 28, calling the agency “traitor to the national language” in its decision to push for the abolition of the Filipino subject in college education.

“We call for (Ched chair) Patricia Licuanan’s immediate resignation, as she has failed to effectively serve the interest and welfare of teachers and the general public,” said the Alyansa ng mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino (Tanggol Wika) as they condemned the decision in a statement.

“Just three days before Andres Bonifacio’s birthday, it is appalling that Ched chose to put our education system in shackles by merely reiterating its anti-Filipino stance and insisting that they will not change the provisions of CMO no. 20, after ignoring the issue for four months,” the group said.

Tanggol Wika and other pro-Filipino activists have asked Ched to reconsider the controversial “Revised General Education Curriculum (GEC)” or Ched Memorandum Order 20 (CMO), which removes Filipino as a subject in college, as it is to be taken up at the Grades 11 and 12, the junior and senior high school levels under the K + 12 curriculum.

On Nov. 27, the Ched came out with its statement that it is not changing the provisions of CMO 20, but urges teachers of general education subjects, as well as those teaching major courses, “to contribute to the intellectualization of our national language by using it.”

“The passage of the K to 12 Law enables such flexibility by freeing the GEC from Science, Mathematics, English, Filipino, Literature, Humanities and Social Studies subjects that are more appropriately taught in Senior High School,” Ched reiterated in its statement.

The Ched said it is preparing a “Transition plan for higher education institutions” to mitigate the possible negative effects of the curriculum change on the faculty. It said it is coordinating with different agencies including the education and labor departments, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Among the protesters were faculty and students from the University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, Phil. Normal University, University of Sto. Tomas, National Teachers’ College, Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng Marikina, and Adamson University.

Protesters march from the UP Oblation to Ched on Nov. 28. (Photo from Rhod V. Nuncio Facebook)
Protesters march from the UP Oblation to Ched on Nov. 28. (Photo from Rhod V. Nuncio Facebook)

Personalities from groups such as the Pambansang Samahan sa Linggwistika at Literaturang Filipino (PSLLF) Ink. and some award-winning authors were among the protesters.

DLSU professor David Michael San Juan said Licuanan violated the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which provides that Filipino is the main medium of instruction under section 3, Article 14.

In July, the PSLLF, the National Teachers’ College and other groups have submitted different proposals to the Ched for the revision of CMO 20.

The PSLLF proposed the retention of the mandatory use of Filipino in 12 general education subjects, as well as the retention of nine units of Filipino subjects as mandatory core course with multi-disciplinary design. These include core courses such as Filipino as intellectual language in social studies, humanities, science, technology; literature and society, languages and culture of the Philippines, and Philippine studies.

“Ched is technically killing Filipino departments in all colleges and universities by refusing to add Filipino subjects in the new General Education Curriculum (GEC), while at the same time, paying lip service to the optional use of Filipino as a medium of instruction,” Tanggol Wika said in its statement.

“With the Filipino departments gone, how can Ched’s plan for the intellectualization of Filipino proceed? With the Filipino subjects obliterated, how can the national language flourish as a medium of instruction?” Tanggol Wika said.

The group said it is mulling the filing a petition with the Supreme Court to declare the Ched memo unconstitutional. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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