- The UP Skimmers highlighted the removal of Filipino from college curriculum, which draws back attention to the issue
- Back in 2018, CHED ordered to remove Filipino and Panitikan as a required subject in college, which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of
- Advocates of the Filipino language says that by doing so, the supreme court is in favor of a “cultural genocide”
The UP Visayas Skimmers’ controversial cheer noted some of the more pressing societal concerns the modern Filipino is facing. From errs in politics to the alarming ideology of the Supreme Court that Filipino and Panitikan is not required in college classes.
In 2018, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) held an order to remove Filipino as a required subject in college. Their goal is to implement a 22013 memorandum order removing Filipino, Panitikan, and Constitution as required general education subjects in college.
via Mark Demayo/ABS-CBN News
However they did not make that move immediately. CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera III mentioned that the implementing body will not push through with the order yet as Filipino language advocates planned on appealing the Court’s decision, which lifted a 2015 Temporary Restraining order that had blocked the memorandum order.
Groups and faculty from several universities slammed the SC’s decision, saying the removal of the subjects from the minimum required courses in college would lead to the erosion of Philippine culture and identity. They also warned it would lead to the loss of jobs of thousands of teachers.
A group of Filipino and Panitikan advocates tried their best to warn Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin of dire consequences should the Supreme Court stick to its ruling affirming the exclusion of Filipino and Panitikan as core subjects from the college curriculum.
In a letter, the group Alyansa ng Mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino (Tanggol Wika) said if the high court affirms its decision, “Filipino and Panitikan will not only be killed as mandatory subjects in college, but Filipino will also be murdered as an effective medium of instruction.”
It said this will go against the Constitution’s “well-defined mandate for Filipino as medium of instruction at all levels of education.”
The group mentioned that they are going to “move the heavens and the earth to stop this imminent cultural genocide,” as the decision will “murder our national language and local iterature.”
But despite their warnings, the Supreme Court still pushed through with the decision. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous vote in October last year, upheld the constitutionality of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum Order No. 20 (CMO 20) which removed Filipino and Panitikan subjects as part of the core college curriculum.
It upheld its ruling in a resolution dated March 5 this year saying CMO 20 did not violate the 1987 Constitution because it merely transferred these subjects to the curriculum of elementary and high schools.
“No further pleadings or motions shall be entertained in this case. Let entry of final judgment be issued immediately,” SC Clerk of Court Edgar Aricheta said.
“CMO 20 did not violate the Constitution when it merely transferred these subjects as part of the curriculum of primary and secondary education,” the resolution said.
The SC en banc emphasized that CMO 20 only provides for the “minimum standards” for the general education component of all degree programs.
“It does not limit the academic freedom of universities and colleges to require additional courses in Filipino, Panitikan, and the Constitution in their respective curricula,” the High Court said.
The decision means that CHED may now implement the order.
Tanggol Wika says otherwise, noting that CMO 20 prioritizes the English language over Filipino and Panitikan, noting that making the English language a requirement in college, it overshadows Filipino.
“It is a travesty to allow CHED to make a regressive move on language policy, when the Constitution mandates forward action, continuous progress in the process of cultivating the national language,” it said.
The group claimed CHED also ignored the opposition of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
via Jim Stapleton/Unsplash
The group invoked the words of Simoun, a character in national hero Dr. Jose Rizal’s novel “El Filibusterismo,” who castigated those who favored Spanish over Philippine languages.
“One and all you forget that while a people preserves its language, it preserves the marks of its liberty, as a man preserves his independence while he holds to his own way of thinking. Language is the thought of the peoples,” the group said. -Rappler/ABS CBN