An organization that advocates for the protection of the Filipino language said that it would continue to fight against the removal of Filipino and Philippine Literature from the list of required college subjects even after the Philippine Supreme Court (SC) decided to uphold a law dictating this.
Organization Tanggol Wika’s convenor David Michael San Juan took to social media yesterday and said in a Facebook Live video that they plan to file another petition against the removal of the said subjects.
“If we failed to convince the Supreme Court in our first motion for reconsideration, we will push to file a second motion for reconsideration,” San Juan said in Filipino in the video.
In a resolution dated March 5 but only made public last week, the SC said that it has “denied with finality” the motions for reconsideration filed by Tanggol Wika and other petitioners.
“No further pleadings or motions shall be entertained in this case,” the resolution reads.
On Oct. 9, the SC ruled that the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) Memorandum No. 20, Series of 2013 (CMO 20) was valid in its mandate to no longer consider Filipino and Philippine Literature subjects as requirements in college.
In its motion for reconsideration filed in November, Tanggol Wika claims that the Philippine Constitution mandates the inclusion of the study of the Filipino language and the Philippine Constitution in all levels.
While the SC acknowledged that the Philippine Constitution mandates the study of Filipino, Philippine Literature, and the Philippine Constitution, it said that it does not specify the educational level in which they must be taught.
“Thus, CMO 20 did not violate the constitution when it merely transferred these subjects as part of the curriculum of primary and secondary education.”
The SC also said that while CMO 20 dictates the minimum standards for degree programs, it does not limit universities and colleges who want to require additional subjects on Filipino, Philippine Literature, and the Philippine Constitution.
In a statement posted on Facebook on Friday, Tanggol Wika said that the SC should have engaged with them in oral arguments rather than just issuing a ruling based on “quick readings of tons of documents that we have submitted.”
Tanggol Wika Statement on Supreme Court Notice on Our Motion for Reconsideration Re: Filipino and Panitikan in…
“We are saddened by the Supreme Court’s refusal to give course to our motion for reconsideration. We believe that justice has not been served by their refusal to amply hear our arguments,” the statement reads.
In his Facebook video, San Juan also blasted the media for allegedly reporting the SC’s decision without their side.
“I was dismayed by how the media treated the issue as if it were over,” he said. “We want to reiterate to the media that the issue is not yet over and that Tanggol Wika can still file a second motion for reconsideration. That is one of the options we are considering because we believe that if we are going to kill our own language and literature, we need to think about it twice, thrice, four times, a thousand times.”
He also used the video to reply to netizens who are against their cause, even calling one a “troll” and “stupid.”
“It is very uncommon for countries not to teach their own language and culture,” San Juan said, sharing that it is Tanggol Wika’s goal to eventually make Filipino the medium of instruction in schools. According to him, this is a longterm goal that can only be possible if Filipino is taught at all levels.
Filipino and English are both considered official languages in the Philippines. While most speak Filipino — a standardized version of Tagalog — or one of the more than 100 Philippine languages, most also speak English. English is commonly used in school, business, and official documents.
San Juan also pointed out in the video that with the new mandate, some students, especially those taking up International Studies, may have to take foreign language subjects but not Filipino.
“You can’t get to know the world if you don’t first get to know yourself,” he said.
In 2015, the SC stopped the implementation of CHED’s CMO 20 through a temporary restraining order (TRO). It lifted the TRO last year but CHED, the government agency in charge of universities and colleges, decided not to implement its memorandum order until the SC makes its final decision.
The Philippines has a complicated relationship with language, which is sometimes seen as a status symbol. Most in the upper classes prefer to speak to their children in English, while those in poorer communities prefer speaking in a local language.
This article, Organization to petition against Supreme Court decision to uphold law that removes Filipino and PH Literature from required college subjects , originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!