Usapang Wika: How We Are Slowly Losing our Identity

November 18, 2018 – Hannah Francesca M. Arcenal

The Commission on High Education (CHED) recently made its decision to exclude Filipino and Panitikan subjects as core courses in college. This made a lot of Filipino advocates displeased as the Filipino language has a huge part of our Identity as well as essential in preserving the Filipino culture. While this decision hasn’t been finalized yet by the Supreme Court, a lot of Filipinos have been sharing their sentiments regarding the issue. Universities, such as University of Santo Tomas released a statement that concerned the exclusion of Filipino subjects in college. UST’s Literature department denounced the CHED’s decision and stressed out how important Filipino and Panitikan subjects are in shaping critical minds.

While it is true that learning another language is important in line with global competence, learning and mastering our own mother tongue is also as important.

Language is essential in expressing one’s culture. Which means the Filipino language is essential in expressing our Filipino culture. It is our means of communicating our beliefs, values, and customs. CHED’s decision could be a factor of the loss of our identity as the Filipino language is a huge part of our identities as Filipinos.

To maintain language is critical in preserving one’s identity and heritage. To lose our language means to lose our culture and our identities.

Though CHED’s decision only includes Filipino and Panitikan subjects from college and does not include subjects from high school and gradeschool, this is still an issue as it could be a factor for students to forget the importance of our mother tongue. Unaware, we are slowly losing our identities as we forget our own language.

Today, as the English language is prominent in schools, offices and other institutions, the Filipino language is given less importance. Many of us prefer to speak, write, and read English than of Filipino. We have found it easier to understand English than of our mother tongue, and CHED’s decision could make it even worse. We are slowly forgetting the beauty of our language as we let ourselves be consumed by the idea of globalization. To preserve the Filipino language and culture is more than learning English for us to be globally competent. To know and understand our language and culture by heart means so much more than to be globally proficient.

While some universities are determined to denounce the said decision, we must personally understand the importance of our national language. It is a big part of who are as Filipinos and it is our means to preserve our culture for the future generations to inherit. Our uniqueness as Filipinos is expressed through our language as it reminds us of what it means to be Filipino through the words we use -- which makes it important for us to keep our language alive. If we don’t, we let our roots be forgotten and have no culture to pass down to future Filipinos.

“Without the language, we are warm bodies without spirit.” – Mary Lou Fox, 1996