By: Reymundo Salao

(WARNING: My Filipino teachers in high school and college are not allowed to read the following article.)

THEY say August is “Buwan ng Wika.” And when it comes to “Pambansang Wika” my opinion on the matter is not something everybody will appreciate. Because for me, the language they refer to as Filipino is nothing more than Tagalog.

If you ask me what Filipino is (or what it should be), it’s not that language you hear in noontime variety shows, or from FM DJs who do not know how to speak decent English.

For me, Filipino is whatever your regional dialect is. If you are Cebuano, Bisaya is your Filipino. If you are from Aklan, Akeanon is your Filipino.

I am from Iloilo, Hiligaynon is my Filipino.

We are a country of various dialects, let’s embrace that. And do not force upon our students a large chunk of school time for “Tagalog Filipino” subjects which will not be of any relevant use for them when they become professionals. It’s a stubborn opinion, I know. But that is beside the point. Arguing what the Filipino language should be is such a complex issue that is still being debated by great Filipino scholars. I am no professor nor am I some kind of scholar, so I limit my stand to what is merely opinion.

I often frown over how educational modules are over-promoting “Tagalog Filipino” subjects to the point of overshadowing the importance of English. And I sometimes feel annoyed by those people who equate those who push for “Tagalog Filipino” with being nationalistic, as if they equate the use of English as the opposite.

Sure, Jose Rizal has made some nasty remarks about people who never acknowledge the native language (he did not specify that Visayans should force upon themselves the Tagalog dialect), but then again, Rizal did not have a whole bundle of Filipino Balarila Subjects to slow down his learning process for other sciences. And bear in mind that Rizal was “World-Class” because he was a cunning linguist.

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