Counterhegemony: 12 Reasons to save the national language

Filipino subjects have been obliterated through Commission on Higher Education/CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 20, Series of 2013. Hence, instead of celebrating this year’s National Language Month (Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa), everyone is requested to help turn the tables against the enemies of our beleaguered national language.

Associate Professor, De La Salle University-Manila

“Uno y otro os olvidais de que mientras un pueblo conserve su idioma, conserva la prenda de su libertad, como el hombre su independencia mientras conserva su manera de pensar. El idioma es el pensamiento de los pueblos .”
– Simoun in Chapter VII of Jose Rizal’s “El Filibusterismo”

The Philippines holds the disreputable distinction of being the only country in the world where the national language is extoled for a month, only to be dismissed as a nuisance unworthy of recognition as the official language of communication and primary medium of instruction. Some citizens – victims of what Renato Constantino labeled as (neo)colonial “miseducation” – even have the gall to demand the use of English language or a regional language, as the country’s language of communication and medium of instruction, despite the fact that Filipino has been the national language since 1935! Worse, Filipino subjects have been obliterated through Commission on Higher Education/CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 20, Series of 2013. Hence, instead of celebrating this year’s National Language Month (Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa), everyone is requested to help turn the tables against the enemies of our beleaguered national language. Allow us to enumerate a few compelling reasons why Filipino should be used as medium of instruction in college and why Filipino subjects must be included in the college curriculum

1. Filipino as medium of instruction at all levels is a mandatory provision of the Philippine Constitution (Article XIV, Section 6): “The national language of the Philippines is Filipino…the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system.” It is thus abominable that most government agencies use English as their main language of official communication, and most universities are still reluctant to progressively implement the Filipinization of the curriculum.

2. Using Filipino as a medium of instruction in college will only be effective if Filipino is taught as a subject/discipline too.

3. In the era of globalization and imminent Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Integration, Filipinos should further strengthen their own language, literature, and culture, as part of our contribution to the project of global and regional socio-cultural integration. For what can we contribute to the global and regional projects of integration if we have no language nor culture to share with the world and ASEAN?

4. Expanding and further developing what students have learned in junior and senior high school is necessary. Hence, there is a need for at least a Filipino subject in college, as a number of subjects in the senior high school curriculum have parallel or related subjects in the new General Education Curriculum.


5. Skills for Filipino language and Philippine literature are included in the College Readiness Standards (CRS) contained in CHED’s Resolution No. 298-2011, hence including Filipino language and literature subjects in college is a must, if the CRS is to be genuinely useful. Such subjects will ensure that skills learned in high school will be further developed in college.



6. The National Achievement Test (NAT) results for Filipino are still below DepEd’s own standards for mastery. Hence, retaining Filipino as a college subject will ensure that the necessary task of improving students’ facility of the Filipino language beyond the secondary level is accomplished.


7. The content of the Filipino senior high school curriculum cannot cover all content and skills currently taught in college. (see ANNEX A)

8. Filipino is the national language and language of political democratization as it is spoken by 99% of the population. It is the most effective language of national public discourse. It is the soul of our country’s identity and culture. Giving it some space in all levels of education is a must. Obliterating it is obliterating ourselves and our collective identity.

9. In K to 12 countries such as the United States of America, Malaysia, and Indonesia, national language and/or literature are part of the mandatory core courses in their college curriculum.

American Universities Where English (The American National Language) is Taught as a Required Core Course (PARTIAL LIST)

1. Princeton University
2. Illinois State University
3. California State University
4. Columbia University
5. University of Alabama
6. Duke University
7. Yale University
8. Harvard University
9. Stanford University
10. North Carolina State University
11. Washington State University
12. University of Wisconsin-Madison
13. State University of New York
14. University of Michigan
15. College of Engineering ng Ohio State University
16. University of Vermont
17. California State Polytechnic University
18. University of Kentucky
19. University of Arizona
20. College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences ng Ohio State University

American Universities Where English Literature is Taught as a Required Core Course (PARTIAL LIST)

1. University of Chicago
2. Harvard University
3. Duke University
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5. University of Alabama
6. University of Wisconsin-Madison
7. University of Michigan
8. University of Kentucky
9. University of Oregon
10. University of Texas

10. Filipino subjects designed in a multi/interdisciplinary way are feasible, as proven by the dozens of proposals submitted to CHED by various institutions and organizations.

11. The inclusion of the national language in the college curriculum is a relatively new thing, compared with the inclusion of the English language and literature in the college curriculum. It is about time this historical injustice is remedied. (see ANNEX B)

12. Filipino is a global language taught in more than 80 schools, institutions, and universities abroad (in some cases, full bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree are also offered). Obliterating the space for Filipino and Philippine Studies at the tertiary level in Philippine colleges and universities will certainly negatively affect the status of Filipino as a global language.

40 Philippine Schools Overseas (PSOs) with 27,500 students in 10 countries Where Filipino is Taught
1. Bahrain
2. China
3. East Timor
4. Greece
5. Kuwait
6. Libya
7. Oman
8. Qatar
9. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
10. United Arab Emirates

Universities Abroad Teaching Filipino Language and/or Philippine Studies
1. University of Hawaii-Manoa
2. University of Michigan
3. Osaka University
4. Kyoto University
5. Sorbonne University (France)
6. University of Melbourne
7. University of Pennsylvania
8. University of Washington
9. Beijing University
10. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
11. University of California, Berkeley
12. University of Queensland (Australia)
13. Universiti Brunei Darussalam
14. University of Malaya (Malaysia)
15. University of Wisconsin-Madison
16. Loyola Marymount University (USA)
17. Columbia University (USA)
18. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
19. Moscow State University
20. St. Petersburg State University
21. Northern Illinois University
22. Yale University
23. University of San Francisco (USA)
24. University of Chicago
25. University of Winnipeg (Canada)
26. Universit?t Luzern (Switzerland)
27. University of Pittsburgh (USA)
28. Simon Fraser University (Canada)
29. University of California, San Diego
30. Stanford University
31. University of Arizona
32. Cornell University
33. Brigham Young University (USA)
34. California State University-East Bay
35. University of Wollongong in Dubai (mother unit in Australia)
36. North West Community College (Sydney)
37. Michigan State University
38. University of Utah
39. California State University Long Beach
40. University of Iowa
41. Loyola University (USA)
42. East Tennessee State University
43. SWCollege (USA)
44. Cuyamaca College (USA)
45. Alliant International University (USA)
46. San Diego State University (USA)

Other Overseas Institutions That Teach Filipino Language
1. Filipino Language and Culture School of Calgary (FLCSC)
2. 70 high schools in San Diego, California
3. Converse International School of Languages (USA)
4. Philippine Language School of Victoria (Australia)
5. Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture (USA)







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