Speaking of dignity, self-respect, the instinct of national preservation through the defense of one’s own national language and national sovereignty, we need to point out as an example the recent rejection of U.S. Statehood with all its publicized “dollar benefits” on the part of the majority ofÂ Puerto Ricans in a recent national plebiscite they held on December 13, 1998.
Like Cuba and the Philippines, Puerto Rico was grabbed by the U.S.A. from Spain in 1898 which explains the common Hispanic language and culture shared by these three former Spanish oversea provinces.
Of these three countries, it is the Philippines that should be fervently invited by the U.S.A. to become one of its States, possibly the 51st U.S. State, because unlike Cuba and Puerto Rico it is the Philippines that has odiously and foolishly discarded the Spanish language as an official language, inspite of purportedly honoring a national hero like JosÃ© Rizal who wrote his nationalistic MESSAGE in Spanish.
And, it is also a slavishly neocolonialÂ Philippines that is even destroying its own native languages, primarily Tagalog, by officially ramming into them the English-Taglish Alphabet.
Choosing the wrong country
But, vile humiliation of vile humiliations, it is Puerto Rico, and not the Philippines, that is being benevolently retained by the U.S.A. as “a free Associate State” with the expectation that it may freely accept U.S. Statehood as evidenced by the latest “non-binding” plebiscite it held with the result that the Puerto Ricans have unbelievably rejected U.S. Statehood.
We say “unbelievably rejected” because as one of the nearly 80 million Filipinos by birth, this writer is almost sure that if a similar plebiscite were held today in the Philippines, the possibility of accepting and voting for U.S. Statehood on the part of Filipinos can be overwhelming.
That overwhelming vote for U.S. Statehood can be clearly discerned by the daily long line of Filipinos applying to immigrate to the U.S. mainland as well as the likewise long lineÂ (pila or fila) to go to any part of the vast U.S. territory, like Guam or the former Hawaii, (now the 50th State), and stay there even as one more TNT (Tago-ng-Tago) or overstaying alien with the hope of at last becoming a U.S. citizen even ifÂ a fourth class one because of skin, color and face.
Then, there is the case of the Filipino veterans that fought America’s war in Asia in the 1940s. These Filipino veterans are still waiting forÂ a magnanimous grant ofÂ U.S. citizenship, which they can not pass on to their descendants. They are also waiting, and literally dying, for whatever pension crumbs that have been promised them since over fifty years ago.Â Many of them have really died in their old age while waiting in vain.
Yet, unlike the Puerto Ricans, who don’ t easily take to talking in Americanese English, Filipinos have never been offered Statehood or a deal like the Puerto Rican’s “Estado Libre Asociado.”
A bastardized Filipino national language
What then is the point behind the continued imposition of English as the primary official language of this country and as the principal medium of instruction in most levels of Philippine education while Tagalog, which is the basis of Filipino is being brazenly bastardized and deliberately mongrelized so that, under the name “Filipino national language,”Â it will be another lowly pidgin like the present-day official languages of Papua New Guinea (Tok Pisin), the New Hebrides or Vanuatu (Bislama) and the Solomons (Pijin) ?
And to their credit, one of the reasons why the majority of Puerto Ricans rejected U.S. Statehood, for the nth time, is the preservation of their native language (Spanish) from the genocidal onslaught of U.S. sectarian non-Catholics (the WASPs of the SIL prototype) that insist in imposing upon them their English language under the guise of appearing as “educators,” “linguists,” good natured “Protestant missionaries,” “Peace Corpse volunteers,” and “social workers” fielded with CIA’s USAID funds.
Those interested in making a deeper study on how English was unjustly imposed upon Puerto Ricans and Filipinos should read for starters “La AmericanizacÃ³n de Filipinas: La
imposiciÃ³n del Idioma InglÃ©s en el PerÃodo 1898-1901,” by Alfonso L. GarcÃa MartÃnez, from a separata of the Review of the College of Lawyers of Puerto Rico, Vol. 43, May 1982, No. 2, Pages 237 to 270.
Imposing English is ‘cultural atrocity’
It is also worthy to note, that the Americans could not impose English in Cuba as they so brazenly did force it upon the more trusting Filipino people.
The Spanish daily magazine newspaper, ABC, from Madrid, Spain, reportedÂ in its editorial, page 3 of February 9, 1991 the following:
“Hundreds of thousands of persons went out to the streets these days in Puerto Rico in defense of Spanish as the legitimate expressiÃ³n of their collective identity. The rejection of English as an Official Language by the majority, as manifested by ample sectors of Puerto Rico’s civil society, has had two consequences:
“One, the strengthening of the position taken by the island’s former Governor, Rafael HernÃ¡ndez ColÃ³n, who made Spanish as the sole Official language of Puerto Rico during his mandate, and…
“Two, to denounce the ‘cultural atrocity’ intended by the new Governor of the Island, Pedro RosallÃ³, to impose English as the island’s Official language when only eleven percent of Puerto Ricans speak it with the detail that the majority of those that speak English do not even do so fluently.”
How admirably and edifyingly different are the Puerto Ricans, with regard their noble defense of their own language. On the other hand the present-day Filipino “linguists” of the “Kumisyon ng Filipino” and certain DECS “educators” and mostÂ particularly, certain Tagalogs themselves like one writer and poet, certain politicians and even Tagalog movie actors, producers and directors and Tagalog-Filipino languageÂ teachers, leave much to be desired. Most of these mentioned have never offered any objection at all to the ramming in of the English-Taglish Alphabet, syllabication and spelling, into their ownÂ Tagalog language. They have pusillanimously kept silent, bowed their heads in fear and in shame without having raised an objectionÂ even if only to up-hold the dignity of Francisco BalagtÃ¡s and that of the Tagalog language itself as the basis ofÂ Filipino, the national language ofÂ our people.Â Is it because they do not know any better?
Where is our national dignity?
To make matters worse, the referred to Tagalog language “leaders” we describe even appear to have subserviently thanked SIL, the apparently interfering neocolonial entity, in a book such as the “Diksiyunaryo English-Filipino” for what might just be an undue and wrong linguistic intervention, or influence, into the very basis of the Tagalog-Filipino language such as its Alphabet.
Such incomprehensible, albeit cowardly and treacherous, acquiescence, committed behind the back of, and without the knowledge of the vast majority of Tagalogs in particular, and Filipinos in general, must surely have a corresponding punishment. And this punishment must come from what we understand as the dignity of all Filipinos, particularly the Tagalogs, the Ilocanos, the KapampaÃ±gans, all the Visayans, the Muslims, the Bicolanos, the Cordillera peoples, the Chabacanos of Cavite, Zamboanga, Ternate and Basilan with all those who are also Spanish-speaking, the Mindanao Lumad and Lutao-Samal peoples, etcÃ©tera, since this is a blatant cultural atrocity being committed against all of them in their dignity and rights as Filipino nationals!
And the best punishment is the collective rejection of the English language both as an Official language as well as the English alphabet that is being forced in as the Alphabetical basis of Filipino, the national language. Filipinos who really love their own national language in Tagalog-based Filipino, aside from their own native languages, should also move for the restoration of Spanish as a regular subject in all levels of our education and as one of our official languages in the next constitutional amendment being proposed because we can never honestly deny that Spanish is the other parent-language of Tagalog, of Bisaya, of Ilocano and of all the other native languages of these islands.
Filipino is enslaved in his own country
So, the Tagalog individual in particular, and the Filipino individual in general, is now being made to look like a senseless yokel with regard to his own national language and everything is fine.
This happens because that same Filipino yokel is still being taught from the primary grades that all Spanish Conquistadores and Friars are really bad people out of a vile sectarian bias and prejudice that is now standard and official practice.
To effect such a kind of disorientation, the history of this country is also being deliberately twisted and “revised” by the same forces of that same neocolonial agenda ofÂ sectarian hate, arrogance, intolerance and racial discrimination.
Yet, we are repeatedly told through all media that we need to “celebrate” the centennial of our independence and freedom as a people when our own national language is deliberately being subverted by an evil and unsolicited foreign sectarian influence.
Now, if that harm hasÂ been done to both the language and history of the Filipino people, with Filipinos not being enabled to properly think and answer back, the same neocolonial and sectarian power must also believed, and thought, that it can brazenly ram into Tagalog-Filipino its unphonetic and inferior Alpahabet and language system without any Filipino standing up to them.
Yet, we are being bombarded from radio and TV that the Philippines has justÂ proudly celebrated its first centennial of freedom from Spain at a time when the Filipino is being enslaved and pushed around, both linguistically and economically, even in his own language and in his own country. So, what else is new?
28 August 2001
Editor’s Notes: Although this article was published more than seven years ago, we believe the issues raised in this commentarty are as current as they were when the article was first published.