IT WAS a day of delight for Filipino language advocates, including professors from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), as college students will continue learning Filipino subjects in the general education curriculum.
Members of the UST Department of Filipino expressed their joy after the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) issued a memorandum (CMO) on Monday, July 18, ordering all colleges and universities to retain six to nine units of Filipino subjects in their curricula.
“Nagdiwang [kaming mga guro ng Filipino at] talagang natuwa kami noong nalaman namin [‘yung paglalabas ng CHED ng memorandum] dahil hindi nauwi sa wala ‘yung pinagpaguran namin,” said UST Department of Filipino chairperson Roberto Ampil.
Under the new memorandum, universities should follow two CHED memorandums issued in 1996 and 1997.
CMO No. 59, series of 1996 requires students in the fields related to Humanities, Social Sciences, and Communication to take at least nine units of Filipino subjects, while CMO No. 4, series of 1997 sets the minimum requirement of at least six units of Filipino for students in non-Humanities fields.
Aside from faculty members losing their jobs and institutions possibly closing, the Filipino language would not be enriched if CHED did not issue the retention of Filipino units in college, Ampil noted.
“[Sa pamamagitan ng wikang Filipino], nandoon pa rin ‘yung sense ng pagkatao [ng isang mag-aaral], he said. “Ako’y Pilipino, wikang Filipino ang isinasalita. Kasi ‘pag tinanggal ‘yung wika sa’yo, mawawala ka na. [Mawawala na] ‘yung pagkatao mo.”
Ampil is one of the 89 petitioners who submitted a 45-page complaint against CHED Memorandum Order No. 20, series of 2013, which excluded Filipino and Panitikan as core courses in the curriculum for college, and transferred these subjects to senior high school.
Other petitioners from UST include Filipino professors Wennielyn Fajilan, Jonathan Geronimo, Crizel Sicat de Laza, Reynele Bren Zafra, and Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) alumnus John Robert Magsombol.
Furthermore, Asst. Dean Narcisa Tabirara believes that the Filipino language “will be more intellectualized if it is offered in college rather than in high school.”
In April 2015, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order stopping the provisions of CMO 20. However, it was just on Monday when CHED complied with this order, and required the retention of Filipino subjects in all higher education institutions. F – VANN MARLO M. VILLEGAS