Tanggol Wika protests 'patently unjust' SC ruling vs Filipino, Panitikan

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino language advocates on Monday, June 10, filed a letter of protest before the Supreme Court (SC) decrying its decision to remove Filipino and Panitikan as required subjects in college. 

In a 22-page letter to the High Court, the Alyansa ng Mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino/Alliance of Defenders of the Filipino Language (Tanggol Wika) said it hoped to stop “imminent cultural genocide, the impending murder of our national language and local literature.” 

“As the national language is a strong social glue that binds our archipelago, it is not an exaggeration to say our country’s survival is also at stake here,” Tanggol Wika said.

Tanggol Wika maintained that the SC decision was “patently unjust,” as it would cause potential job displacements of “at least 10,000 faculty members in the coming months,” on top of violating language provisions in the Constitution. 

In March, the High Court upheld its October 2018 decision lifting the temporary restraining order (TRO) against Commission on Higher Education (CHED) memorandum order (CMO) No. 20, Series of 2013 or CMO 20, which prescribes a college general education curriculum that excludes Filipino, Panitikan, and the Constitution from core courses.  

In its letter of protest, Tanggol Wika argued that the decision would “deprive millions of students of their chance and opportunity to expand and deepen their ability to use the national language in a more intellectual way, in all disciplines and at higher levels of discourse.” 

The group also said that the High Court’s decision “directly contravenes” the 1987 Constitution by prioritizing English over Filipino. 

But the SC in its March decision emphasized that CMO 20 only provides for the "minimum standards" for the general education component of all degree programs and "does not limit the academic freedom of universities and colleges to require additional courses in Filipino, Panitikan, and the Constitution in their respective curricula. (READ: Schools to fight SC ruling removing Filipino as required college subject)

To this, Tanggol Wika said, “It is a travesty to allow CHED to make a regressive move on language policy, when the Constitution mandates forward action, continuous progress into the process of cultivating the national language.”

The group also criticized CHED for its “abuse of power” after disregarding the positions of both the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, whic were against removing Filipino and Panitikan from the list of mandatory subjects in college. (READ: KWF’s Almario hits universities removing Filipino as a subject) 

The advocates further argued that the framers of the 1987 Constitution intended for Filipino to be taught in all levels of education, from primary to tertiary.

“The Constitution does not mention any level in the language provisions because they’re meant for all educational institutions, for all levels of education, for the whole educational system,” Tanggol Wika said. – Rappler.com