The High Court on Wednesday imposed a temporary restraining order or TRO on a so-called “anti-Filipino” provision of CHED Memorandum No. 20 series of 2013 that excluded from the college curriculum Filipino and Panitikan as core courses.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian, a known education advocate, lauded the Supreme Court’s move to stop the Commission on Higher Education or CHED from implementing the new curriculum for colleges and universities following the start of the K to 12 Program, a national 12-year basic education program.
“The Supreme Court’s TRO against the contentious anti-Filipino provision of the concerned CHED memorandum is very much welcome. The Filipino language is not only crucial in helping students comprehend their courses especially in the tertiary school years when critical thinking is being developed. Filipino subjects are also crucial in promoting nationalism,” Gatchalian said.
Based on the new General Education curriculum outlined by CHED, it will not include Filipino subjects and other “remedial courses”, which will be delegated to senior high school under the K to 12 program. It is set to be implemented in school year 2018-2019.
The high court’s TRO against the controversial so-called “anti-Filipino” provision is “effective immediately” and will go on “until further orders from the court”.
“Filipino being our national language should be retained in the new GE in universities and colleges. The use of Filipino as a medium of transaction and formal communication has already diminished tremendously,” Gatchalian, a majority member of House committees on Higher and Technical Education and on Basic Education and Culture.
The Valenzuela City solon pointed out that all or most of formal reading materials, communications, and even researches use English as a norm.
“The use of Filipino has been just limited to informal everyday conversations. To strengthen the use and appreciation of Filipino, it should be continuously taught in universities and colleges,” he said.
National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court, has deplored that more students will opt to have English over Filipino as medium of instruction because of “inferiority complex”.
“Laging nakayuko ang ating mga ulo dahil pinatanggap sa atin na mas mababang klase ang mga Filipino. Kailangang kilalanin na ang malaking dahilan bakit may [ganitong] problema ay ang ating kolonyal na pinanggalingan,” Lumbera was quoted in news reports as saying.
The TRO was imposed by the SC after the Alyansa ng mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino or “Tanggol Wika”, a group of educators from over 40 colleges and universities nationwide, filed a petition asking for the court to stop CHED from implementing the memorandum.
Tanggol Wika said the CHED memorandum violated the following laws:
Republic Act 7104 (Commission on the Filipino Language Act), as CHED supposedly “usurped” the function of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino to develop language policy;
· Republic Act 232 (Education Act of 1982), with CHED being accused of failing to comply with the law’s provision on a nationalist-oriented GE curriculum in college, and;
· Republic Act 7356 (Law Creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts), with Tanggol Wika saying the memorandum does not promote nationhood and cultural education as required by law.
Gatchalian said that if Filipino subjects will be removed, there will be nothing left to develop and strengthen the youth’s nationalism because college students are not anymore required to take the Reserved Officers’ Training Course (ROTC).
“Wala na nga ang ROTC, pati ba naman Filipino?” said the Valenzuela City lawmaker. “The development of nationalism in the youth’s consciousness is especially crucial now that there are threats to our sovereignty.”
In filing House Bill No. 2338, Gatchalian wants the ROTC to form part of the curriculum of all college degree courses as well as technical or vocational courses. Students shall be required to complete the ROTC, which will be a prerequisite for graduation, for an academic period of two years.
The revival of the ROTC, said Gatchalian, will be “a means of inculcating nationalism among the youth in the wake of renewed activities of the Chinese military in the contested Kalayaan Group of Islands, known internationally as the Spratlys.” (Monica Cantilero)