Nothing to celebrate with the Buwan ng Pambansang Wika

You Tagalize the country for your own political survival.

Today, 19 August is the 134th birthday of the Father of National Language and the former President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Manuel Luis Molina Quezon. The whole month of August has been commemorated as the “Buwan ng Pambansang Wika” or National Language Month in honor of Manuel Luis Molina Quezon’s birth month. His presidency was significant as he was during the presidency that a national language was enacted by our constitution of 1935.

Before his presidency, there was no single common language spoken among the Filipinos (even today as most Filipinos speaks with their respective languages even through there is a national language imposed by our constitution) although Spanish was served as the lingua franca among Filipinos who wants to speak with other ethno-linguistic groups however, Spanish never became a real common language among the Filipinos, let alone of becoming a first language among the majority of the Filipinos as the evolution of Spanish language as the common and national language among Filipino was derailed by the American colonization where the Americans imposed their language, English as the common language through a massive public education, the declaration of Tagalog aka “Filipino” as the national language in 1937, and the destruction of the Intramuros during World War II where most Spanish-speaking Filipinos used to live, and the Black Legend-inspired anti-Spanish resentment among Filipinos who raised during the American and post-American era.

The installation of Tagalog language as the basis for the national language to be called later as “Filipino” was based on naive and ill-advised perspectives among the delegates of the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention where most vocal delegates were Tagalogs.

The delegates who passed the 1935 constitution never realized the country’s multilingual and multinational nature where imposing one national perspectives over the other nationals within the country resulted into a resentment between nations within the Philippine archipelago even until now as the economic and political developments of the country are focused in Tagalog regions at the expense of other regions due to political, economic, cultural, and linguistic systems that gives them an unfair comparative advantage over the other nations like the Cebuanos, Ilocanos, Hiligaynons, Warays, Pampangos, and many other Philippine nations.

The naive and ill-advised perspectives among the delegates of the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention who passed the 1935 constitution have resulted into distortion of the evolution for a single Filipino identity and nation and this distortion is the cause of our cultural, economic, linguistic, and political backwardness over the rest of the world for the last 77 years and maybe irreversible unless we accept the reality that our cultural, economic, linguistic, and political system needs to be fully changed through a constitutional revision.

For me, to correct the mistakes of our politicians during the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention is to make other Philippine-based languages as national language in par with Tagalog and the instruction of Philippine-based languages especially the major ones like Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Pampango, Bicolano should be limited to their respective regions while encouraging Spanish (most preferably) and English as the common language of all Filipinos from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.

The significance of José Rizal to our history as a Filipino

José Rizal was the person who inspired the Filipinos to fight for independence from Spain even though he himself was not in favor for total independence from Spain.

Today, 19 June is the 151st birthday of the national hero of our country, José Rizal. The date of birth was significant to us as a Filipino who fought for independence from the excesses of friar-led Spanish colonial rule even though Rizal personally was not in favor for outright independence from Spain.

His emergence as a patriot, novelist, ophthalmologist, polymath, and a linguist inspired many Filipinos not just during his time but also to later generations to fight for freedom from the excesses of colonial rule of Spain, the United States and also the excesses of post-colonial economic, political, and social policies. His ideas like equality among Filipinos and the Spaniards that time caught him a significant followers regardless of personal ideas like Andrés Bonifacio and many others.

His entire life was practically spent to fight the excesses of friar-led Spanish colonial rule as he was the apparent heir to continue the legacies of his family. His exceptional talents gave him a comparative advantage over his colleagues that time to fight the excesses of the colonial rule like the obvious preferences by the religious orders to Spanish individuals over a Philippine-born individuals of appointing priests to the various parishes in all over the archipelago.

His exceptional talents enabled him to raise the concerns of the Filipino people to the Spanish people when he went to Spain and the entire Europe in order to awaken not just the Spaniards but the entire world on what the grievances of the Filipino people then. It was in Europe when José Rizal wrote his ideals and grievances like Noli me Tangere, El Filibusterismo, and La Solidaridad.

His goals for a better Philippines incurred the ire from the people who enjoys the status quo especially from the friars who got threatened by Rizal’s writings like the exploitation of native Filipino women for personal benefit of some friars in their respective parishes. His writings was the cause of his unjustified death in the hands of the friars on 30 December 1896.

After then, later generations took Rizal’s life as an inspiration to fight the excesses not just against foreign occupiers but also against some local interests who controlled the political, social, and economic lives of the vast majority for their personal benefit. In spite of several interpretations on how should Rizal be remembered to the eyes of the people, José Rizal was still the symbol and the inspiration for the Filipinos that need to be emulated for the next generation of people to come.