Youth groups decry final SC ruling making Filipino, Panitikan optional in college
MANILA, Philippines – Youth groups and school organizations slammed the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) reiterating the constitutionality of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) memorandum that excludes Filipino and Panitikan (Philippine Literature) as required subjects in college.
The SC en banc released a 5-page resolution upholding its October 2018 decision after, it said, petitioner Alyansa ng mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino or Tanggol Wika failed to present "any substantial argument" on the case.
Tanggol Wika, an alliance of educators from more than 40 colleges and universities in the country, filed a motion for reconsideration in November 2018 questioning the CHED memorandum order.
Critics said the SC decision contradicted the government’s intention to instill patriotism and nationalism among students.
In contrast, said Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago, the government is pushing for mandatory Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) in Grades 11 and 12 – with the House having approved the bill on 3rd and final reading – even as "widespread cases of harassment, hazing, and corruption" have yet to be resolved.
The College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) condemned the finality of the SC's decision, citing the kind of nationalism that the government wants the youth to learn.
CEGP national president Daryl Angelo Baybado said: "Habang nais tanggalin ng gobyernong ito ang pag-aaral ng Filipino at panitikan sa kolehiyo, niratsada naman nila sa Kongreso ang pagpapasa ng Mandatory ROTC. Kitang-kita natin na huwad ang klase ng nasyonalismo na gusto nilang matutunan ng mga kabataan.”
(While the government wants to remove Filipino and Philippine Literature courses in college, they railroaded measures to push for the mandatory ROTC. It is very much evident how this government wants to impose false nationalism on its youth.)
The League of the Filipino Students (LFS) said this kind of policy reveals how "hypocritical" and "anti-Filipino" the government is.
“Nakabalangkas ang panukalang ito sa pagtutulak sa kolonyal na oryentasyon ng edukasyon. Layunin nitong magluwal ng mga kabataang walang pagkilala sa sariling panitikan at kasaysayan.... Hinuhubog nito ang mga paaralan na lumikha ng mga mura at siil na lakas-paggawa para sa kapakinabangan ng mga dayuhang kapitalista,” the LFS statement read.
(The policy is structured to push for a colonial orientation in education. It aims to create a generation that doesn't recognize its own literature and history.... It molds the schools to create cheap and oppressive workforce that will serve foreign capitalists.)
Against the Filipino’s identity
The group also said fighting for the Filipino language is asserting the nation's identity.
“Ang pakikipaglaban para sa ating pambansang wika ay ang paggigiit sa ating identidad – malaya sa anumang porma ng kolonyal na panghihimasok,” it said. (To fight for our national language is to assert our identity – free from any form of colonial invasion.)
Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist also condemned the decision, urging Filipinos to defend the language that gives them identity and independence.
“Isa itong malaking sampal sa kung anupamang natitirang pagkakakilanlan at soberanya ng mamamayang Pilipino, lalo na sa mukha ng panghihimasok ng Tsina at pagbebenta ng bansa sa dayuhang merkado,” the group said.
(This is a huge slap on whatever is left of the Filipinos' identity and sovereignty, especially in the time of China’s intrusion and the government’s submission to the foreign market.)
Hindrance to progress
The UP Diliman College of Arts and Letters Student Council echoed the youth party's sentiment, citing how language and history enforce the country’s identity.
“Ang pagpapabasura sa parehong disiplina ay patunay at pagpapakita ng gobyerno sa tunay nilang pagkakakilanlan: sunud-sunuran sa dayuhan, diktador na sumisikil sa kalayaan, at anti-mamamayang iniisip ang kapakinabangang para sa iilan,” the group said.
(The rejection of the two disciplines proves and shows the true identity of the government: obedient to foreign countries, dictator trampling on independence, anti-people prioritizing the interests of the select few.)
“Sa kabila ng panukala ng gobyerno na lalong patampukin ang nasyonalismo sa bansa, binabasura naman ang pagkakataong umunlad at luminang sa pamamagitan ng pagkilala sa sariling wika at identidad,” their statement read.
(Amid the government’s proposal to strengthen nationalism, it rejects the opportunity for us to develop and cultivate by knowing our own language and identity.)
While the SC said the motion for reconsideration was denied with finality, Tanggol Wika believes it has enough basis to file a second motion for reconsideration.