LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte – The groups of Ilokano writers, stakeholders on Ilokano language have called for the resignation of the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF) Chairperson Virgilio Almario and his commissioner for Ilokano language, Purificacion Delima.
The groups made the move following the launching by the KWF on the proposed “Ortograpiya ti Pagsasao nga Ilokano” in the DepEd Regional Office 1, San Fernando City, La Union on October 18, 2018.
In a press briefing on Sunday, the Ilokano writers’ groups called the resignation of KWF Chairperson Almario and Commissioner Delima for Ilokano language for their incompetence in preparing the Ilokano orthography that didn’t conformed with the existing orthography being used by the Ilokano writers and experts.
The Gunglo Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano iti Filipinas (GUMIL – Filipinas) led other groups of Ilokano writers like the International Committee for the Protection of the Ilokano Language, NAKEM Youth, Nakem Conferences International, the academe in Regions 1, 2, 3 and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in protesting against the KWF’s version of Ilokano orthography.
Vilmer Viloria, the president of the GUMIL-Filipinas, said the KWF’s Ilokano orthography has created confusion among the students, who are learning the Ilokano mother-tongue language.
Joel Manuel, a multi-awarded Ilokano writer, educator and Ilokano language expert, said the KWFs version Ilokano orthography will destroy the unique and rich culture of Ilokano language.
“While we support the initiative of the KWF to develop the National Language, we take exception to the move of KWF Chairman Almario to compel a regional language like the Ilokano to use the standards set by the Ortograpiyang Pambansa, disregarding in effect the existing and popular/standard Ilokano orthography; KWF is out to destroy the distinct characteristics and identity of the Ilokano language, and eventually the language itself. This is contrary to the mandate of KWF, that is, to further develop, enrich, propagate and preserve Filipino (the National Language) and other Philippine languages,” said Vilmer Viloria, the GUMIL Filipinas President.
“We insist that the present Ilokano orthography has existed for decades, used by most Ilocano writers, and has been the basis for spelling of volumes of publications, such as Bannawag and the Ilocano Bible,” Viloria added.
The Ilokano language has been standardized with the publication and distribution of the Tarabay iti Ortorgrapia ti Pagsasao nga Ilokano (Guide to the Orthography of the Ilokano Language) by the KWF itself in 2012. The KWF 2012 Tarabay was formulated by the commission upon proper consultation with language experts, writers, editors and teachers, using the standards long employed by the writers and editors of Ilokano dictionaries, existing Ilokano magazines and newspapers, and other publications and the basis of the Ilokano form as taught in the University of Hawaii, Manoa and at state universities in the Philippines offering courses in the Ilokano language.
“Even Purificacion Delima herself, the commissioner for the Ilokano language at the KWF, who invited the non-experts to prepare the draft in only a few days, has not shown expertise in the Ilokano language in its written form,” said Viloria.
“We steadfastly maintain that changing any established orthography should have been done by consensus of those that are affected by such change,” he added.
KWF only consulted with teachers and school officials of the Department of Education in Ilocano-speaking provinces, because, according to Delima, they are the target users of the KWF Ortograpiyang Ilokano in the teaching of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE). Forcing upon our Ilokano children the Tagalog-based orthography in the classroom only gives them spelling rules different from what substantial number of speakers are already acquainted with and from existing printed materials that use the long established orthography, thus sowing confusion in using the language.
“Now, with the foregoing, GUMIL Filipinas, ardently working for all aspects of growth and development of the Ilokano language, its literature, culture and history, request the Department of Education, through its Regional Offices in Region 1, 2 and Cordillera Administrative Region, to stop the adoption of the KWF Ortograpiyang Ilokano and avoid confusion in the teaching of MTB-MLE in the classroom,” Viloria said.
“We encourage the provincial government of the Ilocano-speaking provinces, as they are also stakeholders of the Ilokano language, to intervene and exhaust all the means in its disposal to stop the one-size fits all national orthography on Philippine languages other than Filipino and prevent the bastardization of the Ilokano language,” he added.
The GUMIL Filipinas also called other stakeholders of the Ilokano language, parents, teachers, writers, researchers and speakers of the language, to support this urgent call of GUMIL Filipinas for the rejection of the Tagalog-based KWF Ortograpiyang Ilokano, and continue the adoption of the 2012 Tarabay in the preparation of learning materials for MTB-MLE for Ilokano language.
Meanwhile, the Leo Tejano, the president of the NAKEM Youth, condemned the Ilokano orthography released by the KWF.
“We protest and reject the imposition of the KWF of its culturally and linguistically inappropriate “Ortograpiyang Ilokano,” the group said.
Aurelio S. Agcaoili, the founder of the International Committee for the Protection of the Ilokano Language and Nakem Conferences International, demanded the resignation of the Delima from resign from her post as she does not have the expertise to represent the Ilokano people and their language.
“We, the stakeholders of the Ilokano language from the various diasporic communities, hereby offer this statement as our official position on the most recent onslaught of the Commission on the Filipino Language through its chair, Virgilio Almario, and its Ilokano commissioner, Purificacion Delima, of the integrity of the Ilokano language by their mindless and authoritarian imposition of their own brand of “Ortograpiyang Ilokano” that is patterned after its imposed “Ortograpiyang Pambansa,” said Agcoili. (PR)