History and language

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August is considered ‘tiempo muerto’ in the province and in many parts of the country.

Substantiating this phenomenon are the increased numbers of theft and robbery cases in police blotters.

True indeed, these are difficult times, especially that prices of basic commodities are rising and underemployment rate remains high.

We may be in the midst of the season of want, but somehow we are comforted by the fact that there are special occasions to celebrate this month – observances that heighten our sense of national pride and heritage.

These are History Month and Buwan ng Wika, which are spearheaded by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, respectively.

The National History Month celebration was started in 2012 when President Benigno Aquino III signed Proclamation No. 339.

The Filipino language observance, while it started in 1946, was institutionalized as a month-long event through President Fidel Ramos’ Proclamation No. 1041 issued in 1997.

For 2022 NHCP has chosen the theme “Kasaysayan, Kamalayan, Kaunlaran (History, Consciousness, Development)”.

The agency said the theme urges Filipinos “to look at history as a means of achieving social and economic development by learning its lessons.”

Buwan ng Wika, which is marked on the birth month of the late President Manuel Quezon, “the Father of the Filipino Language” highlights the role played by the Filipino Language in unifying the country.

The celebration is focused on the theme, “Filipino at Mga Katutubong Wika: Kasangkapan sa Pagtuklas at Paglikha (Filipino and Indigenous Languages: Means to Discover and Create)”.

It is rather ironic that while the global community is underscoring the value of mother languages in strengthening ethnic identity through, among others, the declaration of 2022-2032 as the Decades of Indigenous Languages, our Department of Education is considering the reverting to only English and Filipino the medium of instruction in primary grades.

The emphasis on mother tongue-based instruction in lower grade school levels has been initiated by UNESCO. The world body has reported that about 40 percent of the global population do not have access to education in a language they speak or understand.

Add to this reality is the fact that linguistic diversity is further threatened as more languages “disappear at an alarming rate”, thereby posing grave danger to a people’s identity and heritage.

With local government units and schools scheduling activities to mark the two events late this month, hopefully we can catch these occasions so we can infuse greater awareness on pride our heritage

identity and collective consciousness as Filipinos.

***

Still on national identity and pride but on a distant plane, Ukraine marked its 31th Independence Day on Wednesday, Aug. 24, the day when the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991.

Sadly, the commemoration came as the country marked the six-month anniversary of the Russian invasive, which has caused untold destruction to lives, property, infrastructure, industries and the economy.

I still have to hear from education colleagues in the country whom I virtually met in an international conference when I served as a peer reviewer and member of the Conference Program Committee.

I can feel the fervor wrapped in mixed emotions and the sense of patriotism among Ukrainians as reflected in an excerpt of President Volodymyr Zelenske’s Independence Day message:

“We are facing this day in different places. Someone is in the trenches, in dugouts, in tanks and IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) at sea and in the air.

“Fighting for Independence on the frontline.

“Someone is on the roads, in cars, trucks and trains fighting for independence by delivering what is necessary to those on the frontline. And someone is on a smartphone on a computer. Also fighting for independence by raising funds so that those on the road have something to bring to those on the frontline.

“We are facing this day in different circumstances, conditions

and even different time zones, but with one goal – preservation of independence and victory of Ukraine!”

***

Still on August observances…

We congratulate the Research Class of the Trinity Christian School Senior High for initiating an activity that promoted awareness of ageing issues and concerns confronting the elderly population.

The activity, initiated by Teacher Lyn Tanjusay, was held to celebrate International Youth Day.

The Aug. 12 celebration was themed, “Intergenerational solidarity.” The theme hoped to raise consciousness, especially among young people of ageism as, among others, health and development concern.

At the same time, it aimed to address social gaps brought about by stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination of members of the ageing population.

Using social media platforms, Tanjusay said, the students wrote essays and made posters discussing why solidarity among age groups, particularly with the elderly is important in the development of family and social ties.

Through the activity students explored the here-and-now issue about an emerging social concern that they can further look into.

Again, our congratulations to the TCS Senior High students for their IYD activity.

***

Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. (Deuteronomy 32:7) – NWI

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