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Favoritism in the PEN
Whether we like it or not, regional writers cannot compete with Manila writers because of uneven cultural development in the country due to the present politico-economic structure. The reason why they can meet together, launch their books, talk about their works, as you say the privileges we "can only dream wildly about" is because of this unequal and unfair representation. But let us face it. These "tribal" attitude creates an attitude of superiority over writers from the regions. The latter gets only recognized as a kind of tokenism from the center. Since when did these literary organizations consider non-Tagalog languages equal to and deserving of state and non-state support? Until now, no vernacular writer had been conferred with the National Artist award, which tells us of the low opinion of these literary mandarins toward writers from the periphery.
We are working in a very difficult situation since our own people are educated and being educated to become good Tagalogs. Our people can sometimes be our greatest enemies. They had become illiterates in their own languages. They will favor Tagalog instead of their own language. I felt compelled to react to National Artist F. Sionil Jose when he blamed the Boholanos for not reading their own literature. I said to him and to the audience that he cannot blame them for that because their language and literature are not taught in schools. Then, Karina Bolasco arrogantly accused us that we are to blame since we cannot even make our people read our works. I said to her that it is a question of political economy. This brings me to what Ricardo de Ungria said that we, writers from the regions, should publish our own works using our own resources. What? So, Manila writers get all the funding and all the publicity but we should rely on our own. What happens to the taxes we are paying? Are they to benefit only the center? This is pure and simple thievery.
We are not even acting as "spoiled brats" because we in the first place are never spoiled. Those in the center and those who benefit from patron-clientele politics are the ones spoiled. We don't want recognition from them anyway. The literary organization that I envision is a group that will do away with the discriminatory, prejudiced and reactionary principles of these associations. We cannot wait from Manila the recognition of non-Tagalog languages. It is from the periphery, from the regions, from the marginalized, which are the majority, where we should seek recognition. If we, writers from the regions, are united together in one literary group, we will be able to promote equality among languages, support for each other in terms of publicity and publication, and awareness among our people. permaLink | 0 comments
In the News Elsewhere
There are to be almost 20 million schoolchildren enrolled in 2002-2003. Under the Basic Education Curriculum of Secretary Roco, their instruction will begin to focus only on the five subjects of Filipino, English, Mathematics, Science and Makabayan.
The UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity was adopted unanimously at the 31st UNESCO General Conference. It aims to have a significant impact on humanising globalization and making it more culturally sensitive.
The Subdialect Filipino
What is"Filipino?" There is much difference of opinion on this matter. According to one school of thought, Filipino is not only different from Tagalog, but that it (Filipino) still does not exist, but on the contrary, it still has to be developed.
Ethnic Cleansing in the Philippines
The United Nations Convention on Genocide drafted in December 1948 mainly defines the physical means by which governments or rogue militia weed out ethnic or cultural communities. With bullets or bladed weapons, separation of younglings from their elders, we've heard it all before from the news and read it in the history books.
List of Philippine Languages
Republic of the Philippines. 86,241,697. National or official languages: Filipino, English. Literacy rate: 88% to 89%. Also includes Basque, French (698), Hindi (2,415), Indonesian (2,580), Japanese (2,899), Korean, Sindhi (20,000), Standard German (961), Vietnamese, Arabic. Information mainly from L. A. Reid 1971; SIL 1954–2003. Blind population: 1,144,500. Deaf population: 100,000 to 4,232,519 (1998). Deaf institutions: 17. The number of languages listed for Philippines is 175. Of those, 171 are living languages and 4 are extinct.
To Free Us from the Clutches of the Tagalog-Filipino National Language
By a sly, clever wording in the Philippine constitution that "Filipino is the national language," the Tagalista framers avoided an unyielding opposition to Tagalog while anointing it a national sounding name, "Filipino".
We organized DILA in 2001 to defend the language rights of all our ethno-linguistic groups. It is said that of the 7,000 languages spoken around the world today, more than half are expected to be lost in this century alone. They might disappear from causes like wars and disasters but what concerns us is when the reason is that another tongue is forcibly imposed by government. When that happens, disuse of the native tongue follows and the ultimate result is extinction. Since the introduction of a national language in our country in 1935, our 169 non-national languages have declined and deteriorated. All these and more are lucidly presented in the following posts and articles lifted from our group page on the internet (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dila). A note from our founder comes after this introduction.
DILA is committed to legal and peaceful means in achieving our aims, and welcome those who share our noble cause to protect our peoples and languages from extinction. May the Lord bless His languages. (From the FOREWORD of the book Josefina D. Henson, DILA Foundation, Inc. President)
"The best writing on the Philippines I've read in a very long time."—Dr. Michael Ashkenazi, Regents College, London
"Meticulously researched, coherently crafted, passsionately argued."—Carmen Miraflor, Stanford University, California
"Immensely stimulating."—Bro. Andrew Gonzalez, FSC, former Sec. of Education, RP
"Like Alexandr Solshenitsyn, David C. Martinez, writing with the grace of a poet, the acumen of a scholar, and the heart of a patriot, offers the reader two rewards—the unembroidered truth and the priceless gift of hope."—Joseph E. Fallon, author, "Deconstructing America"
"Certain to change crippling misconceptions of 'nation' and 'identity.' Destined to radically, justly, and permanently alter the political landscape of the Philippines."—Nilo Sarmiento, formerly of the Society of Jesus
"Courageously irreverent, scrupulously annotated, and richly rewarding. A must-read for all who wish to comprehend the 'Philippine phenomenon'."—Tim Harvey, Co-Founder, DILA [Defenders of the Indigenous Languages of the Archipelago]
This volume and Filipino Is NOT Our Language can be purchased at Filipinas Heritage Library and Ayala Museum at the commercial district in Makati City, Philippines for P300.00 and P100.00 respectively.