OFFICIALS of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino on Friday urged lawmakers to speak in Filipino in their deliberations as their contribution to the propagation of the national language.
Commission Chairman Virgilio Almario, a national artist, said representatives and senators should be role models in speaking Filipino not only in their parliamentary deliberations but also in crafting legislation.
“We call on our lawmakers to speak Filipino so people will understand them. It is the language of Filipinos, so use it all the time,” Almario told The Manila Times at the sidelines of a three-day congress on Filipino language studies at the National Museum in Manila.
The day prior, a video of motoring enthusiast James Deakin testifying before a Senate inquiry on ride-sharing apps went viral on social media, with netizens noting that Deakin’s articulate defense of transport network companies Grab and Uber, in English, left lawmakers with “nosebleed.”
Senators led by Grace Poe lauded Deakin for his impassioned defense of ride-sharing.
Foreigners lecture in Filipino
Bernardita Churchill of the University of the Philippines and the Philippine Studies Association said that “To propagate our language, all of us, including our political leaders must speak in Filipino. They are always on television and radio, people will learn from them all the more if they speak the language that we all understand.”
Churchill said Filipino is like English, French and other languages now that it is offered as a subject in major universities around the world.
In fact, during the four-day congress, foreign guests delivered their lectures in Filipino.
Among them were Damon Woods of the University of California Los Angeles, Sotoshi Ara of the University of Fukushima, JC Gaillard of the University of Auckland, and Saac Donoso of University of Alicante in Spain.
“I think everybody can contribute to the propagation of Filipino language. First, in official forms, government or private, instructions must be in Filipino. Use Filipino in public places, including in announcing instructions at the airport or ports. Use Filipino as the language of the court and the legislature,” said Donoso, 37, whose wife is Filipino.
He learned the Filipino language while studying at the University of the Philippines.
Almario, known by his pen name Rio Alma, said another purpose of the congress was to impress upon educators
that Filipino is an efficient medium of instruction and not just street or public-market language.
Almario is pushing for the standardization of Filipino in terms of spelling and pronunciation, among others.
“We want also to integrate native languages of the Warays, Tausugs, Maranaos, Ilocanos, and Bicolanos, among others. For example, coral reef is loosely translated as ‘baruha’ when in fact it means ‘sand dune.’ In Ilocano, they have a term for coral reef, particularly dead coral reef. They call it ‘tangrib,’” Almario said.