Sotto bill lifts KWF’s Filipino language-promoting prospects

MANILA � The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) has expressed hope that Senate President Vicente Sotto III's Senate Bill 499, amending Republic Act 7104 (Commission on the Filipino Language Act), would soon become a law, enabling the commission to better promote the country's national language.

It will pave the way towards our more encompassing service for the Filipino language, National Artist and KWF Chairperson Virgilio Almario said this week in his report on the 2019 Buwan ng Wika celebration.

The KWF has its mandate and must comply with the 1987 Constitution so he considers Senate Bill (SB) 499 a ray of hope for the commission.

In an open letter sent earlier to Filipino teachers nationwide, Almario cited the need for a law on further developing and enriching Filipino to make it a medium of official communication and instruction, as the Constitution requires.

Republic Act 7104 created the KWF or Commission on the Filipino Language (CFL) in 1991 to undertake, coordinate, and promote research for development, propagation and preservation of Filipino and other Philippine languages so the agency is anticipating the law.

Sotto filed SB 499 last July, noting the need to further intensify KWF's work and directly attribute its mandate to the fulfillment of the 1987 Constitution's language provisions by 2040.

It is incumbent upon Congress to craft legislation that shall operationalize the Constitutional policy on Filipino language as official language and language of instruction in all levels of education and authorize the CFL to strongly advocate agencies to comply with this Constitutional policy, he said in SB 499.

Among the challenges the KWF continues to face is the final Supreme Court ruling that upheld Commission on Higher Education Memorandum 20, series of 2013.

Memorandum 20 set the policy of excluding Filipino and "panitikan" or Philippine literature from the general education curriculum (GEC) for tertiary education.

Making Filipino and "panitikan" part of GEC again is in accordance with the Constitution's spirit and language provisions, according to the KWF.

SB 499 designates KWF as the primary policy-making and coordinating body on language concerns.

To the extent possible, the KWF shall influence the systems, processes, and procedures of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government vis-a-vis language policies to ensure the implementation of this Act, SB 499 reads.

To help the KWF effectively and efficiently undertake and accomplish its functions, SB 499 provides for revising the commission's structure and staffing pattern.

Information from the Senate showed SB 499 has already been referred to the committees on basic education, arts and culture, as well as civil service, government reorganization, and professional regulation. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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