Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City
19 August 2013
“Wika dapat pagbubuuin tayo, hindi tayo dapat paghihiwalayin,” stated President Benigno S. Aquino III who was the guest of honor during the first Pambansang Kongreso sa Wika at the Leong Hall of Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU).
The President noted the politics of using the national language as a major challenge in uniting Filipinos. He narrated a story at the Congress while he was still a district representative where a congressman from Quezon City used Tagalog in his speech. He was confronted by another representative in Palawan as to why he used Tagalog instead of the English language. This incident prompted other congressmen to use Ilocano, Cebuano and other dialects representing their areas. In the end, the Congress stenographer gave up taking incomprehensible notes.
“Sa unang tingin, nakakatawa ang kwentong ito. Subalit kung susuriin, ganito mismo ang kasalukuyang konteksto ng pulitika ng wika sa Pilipinas. Ang isang bagay na dapat ay nagbubuklod sa atin, nagiging mitsa pa ng di-pagkakasunduan,” President Aquino said.
With the issues surrounding the Filipino language, the Chief Executive recognized the effort of Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) in organizing the Pambansang Kongreso sa Wika. The President believes that the conference will initiate discussions which will address language-related problems being neglected in the country over the years.
President Aquino said he is confident that his administration is contributing in the promotion of the national language through using it in most of his speeches. “Bilang Pangulo, tungkulin kong ibalik ang tiwala at kompiyansa ng mga Pilipino sa mga institusyong pampahalaan. Samakatuwid, tinig nila tayo. Mangyayari lamang ito kung naiintindihan at nakikita nilang hinihimok natin silang makilahok sa paghubog ng pampamahalaang tunay na mula sa kanila, at kumikilos para sa kanila,” he addressed. The President is the first Filipino Chief Executive to use pure Filipino language in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
At the end of his remarks, the President hoped that after the debates and discussions during the three-day conference, the participants and scholars will meet halfway and agree with one another in moving forward to the direction that will bring welfare to the Filipino national language.
President Aquino was accompanied by KWF Chairman and National Artist Virgilio Almario and Ateneo de Manila University President Fr. Jet Villarin, SJ.
* * *