SOLFED Official Statement on the Expulsion of 3 Students for speaking Ilocano

10 August 2013

SOLFED Official Statement on the Expulsion of 3 Students for speaking Ilocano

We, members of Save Our Languages through Federalism Inc. (SOLFED) would like to call to attention an incident in Saviour’s Christian Academy, headed by Rev. Brian Shah, in Laoag City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, on 31 July 2013, in which three thirteen year old students (Samuel Respicio, Carl Andrew Abadilla, Kleinee Bautista) were “advised” by the school principal to “transfer to another school” for speaking in their native tongue Ilocano. We believe it was a call for expulsion albeit phrased in an euphemistic manner. Below is a copy of a school Memo for documentary and legal purposes.

 

memo-expulsion-20130806

The above incident may be regarded as a violation of some of the provisions in the Philippine Constitution.

Article 3, Sec.4 of the Bill of Rights

“No laws shall be passed abridging the Freedom of Speech, of expression, or of the press..”

Article 14, Sec.7

“The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages of the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein.”

Article 14, Sec.17

“The state shall recognize, respect, and protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions, and institutions. It shall consider this right in the formulation of national plans and policies.”

In addition the school may also be regarded as violating the United Nations Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights as elaborated in the Barcelona meeting of June 1996. The Philippines is a member of the U.N. and should be implementing this declaration. In the annex are listed some of the provisions in this Declaration.

In view of the above Save Our Languages through Federalism Inc. (SOLFED), condemns the school action and petitions agencies of the Philippine government and the United Nations to reprimand and level sanctions on the above school, and condemn any similar future actions of Philippine schools. Such actions include imposing fines on students who speak their native non-Tagalog languages especially on the so-called Month of The Language (annually in August- Buwan ng Wika) in which this perverse practice is encouraged by many schools, and other discriminatory and racist actions designed to ethnically cleanse the Philippines of its natural multi linguistic inheritance.

DR. JOSE P. DACUDAO

SOLFED President

Annex:

Some provisions from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights as elaborated in the Barcelona meeting of June 1996

 

    * the right to be recognized as a member of a language community;

    * the right to the use of one's own language both in private and in public;

    * the right to the use of one's own name;

    * the right to interrelate and associate with other members of one's language community of origin;

    * the right to maintain and develop one's own culture;

    *the right for an ethno-linguistic people for their own language and culture to be taught (in their schools, governments, homes);

    * the right of access to cultural services;

    * the right to an equitable presence of their language and culture

in the communications media;

    * the right to receive attention in their own language from government bodies and in socioeconomic relations.

 

Other pertinent provisions of this UN declaration:

 

*This Declaration is based on the principle that the rights of all language communities are equal and independent of their legal status as official, regional or minority languages.

 

*All languages are the expression of a collective identity and of a distinct way of perceiving and describing reality and must therefore be able to enjoy the conditions required for their development in all functions.

 

*All languages are collectively constituted and are made available within a community for individual use as tools of cohesion, identification, communication and creative expression.

 

*All language communities have the right to codify, standardize, preserve, develop and promote their linguistic system, without induced or forced interference.

 

All language communities have equal rights.

 

*This Declaration considers discrimination against language communities to be inadmissible, whether it be based on their degree of political sovereignty, their situation defined in social, economic or other terms, the extent to which their languages have been codified, updated or modernized, or on any other criterion.

 

*Everyone has the right to carry out all activities in the public sphere in his/her language, provided it is the language specific to the territory where s/he resides.

 

*Everyone has the right to use his/her language in the personal and family sphere.

 

*Everyone has the right to know the language specific to the territory in which s/he lives.

 

*Everyone has the right to be polyglot.

 

*All language communities are entitled to the official use of their language within their territory.

 

*All language communities have the right for legal and administrative acts, public and private documents and records in public registers which are drawn up in the language of the territory to be valid and effective and no one can allege ignorance of this language.

 

All language communities have the right to communicate in their own language with the central, territorial, local and supra-territorial services of the public authorities and of those administrative divisions which include the territory to which the language is specific.

 

All language communities are entitled to have at their disposal and to obtain in their own language all official documents pertaining to relations which affect the territory to which the language is specific, whether such documents be in printed, machine-readable or any other form.

 

Forms and standard administrative documents, whether in printed, machine-readable or any other form, must be made available and placed at the disposal of the public in all territorial languages by the public authorities through the services which cover the territories to which each language is specific.

 

All language communities have the right for laws and other legal provisions which concern them to be published in the language specific to the territory.

 

Public authorities who have more than one territorially historic language within their jurisdiction must publish all laws and other legal provisions of a general nature in each of these languages, whether or not their speakers understand other languages.

 

Representative Assemblies must have as their official language(s) the language(s) historically spoken in the territory they represent.

 

Everyone has the right to use the language historically spoken in a territory, both orally and in writing, in the Courts of Justice located within that territory. The Courts of Justice must use the language specific to the territory in their internal actions and, if

on account of the legal system in force within the state, the proceedings continue elsewhere, the use of the original language must be maintained.

 

Notwithstanding the above, everyone has the right to be tried in a language which s/he understands and can speak and to obtain the services of an interpreter free of charge.

 

All language communities have the right for records in public registers to be drawn up in the language specific to the territory.

 

All language communities have the right for documents authenticated by notaries public or certified by other authorized public servants to be drawn up in the language specific to the territory where the notary or other authorized public servant performs his/her functions.

 

Education must help to foster the capacity for linguistic and cultural self-expression of the language community of the territory where it is provided.

 

Education must help to maintain and develop the language spoken by the language community of the territory where it is provided.

 

Education must always be at the service of linguistic and cultural diversity and of harmonious relations between different language communities throughout the world.

 

Within the context of the foregoing principles, everyone has the right to learn any language.

 

All language communities have the right to decide to what extent their language is to be present, as a vehicular language and as an object of study, at all levels of education within their territory: preschool, primary, secondary, technical and vocational, university, and adult education.

 

All language communities are entitled to have at their disposal all the human and material resources necessary to ensure that their language is present to the extent they desire at all levels of education within their territory: properly trained teachers, appropriate teaching methods, text books, finance, buildings and equipment, traditional and innovative technology.

 

All language communities are entitled to an education which will enable their members to acquire a full command of their own language, including the different abilities relating to all the usual spheres of use, as well as the most extensive possible command of any other language they may wish to know.

 

All language communities are entitled to an education which will enable their members to acquire knowledge of any languages related to their own cultural tradition, such as literary or sacred languages which were formerly habitual languages of the community.

 

All language communities are entitled to an education which will enable their members to acquire a thorough knowledge of their cultural heritage (history, geography, literature, and other manifestations of their own culture), as well as the most extensive possible knowledge of any other culture they may wish to know.

 

Everyone is entitled to receive an education in the language specific to the territory where s/he resides

 

The language and culture of all language communities must be the subject of study and research at university level.

 

All language communities are entitled to have at their disposal all the human and material resources required in order to ensure the desired degree of presence of their language and the desired degree of cultural self-expression in the communications media in their territory: properly trained personnel, finance, buildings and equipment, traditional and innovative technology.

 

All language communities have the right for the language specific to the territory to occupy a pre-eminent position in cultural events and services (libraries, videothËques, cinemas, theatres, museums, archives, folklore, cultural industries, and all other manifestations of cultural life).

             

All language communities have the right to preserve their linguistic and cultural heritage, including its material manifestations, such as collections of documents, works of art and architecture, historic monuments and inscriptions in their own language.

         

All language communities have the right to use their language with full legal validity in economic transactions of all types, such as the sale and purchase of goods and services, banking, insurance, job contracts and others.

 

All language communities are entitled to have the documents required for the performance of the above-mentioned operations at their disposal in their own language. Such documents include forms, checks, contracts, invoices, receipts, delivery notes, order forms, and others.

 

All language communities have the right to use their language in all types of socioeconomic organizations such as labor and union organizations, and employers', professional, trade and craft associations.

 

All language communities have the right for their language to occupy a pre-eminent place in advertising, signs, external signposting, and all other elements that make up the image of the country.

 

All language communities have the right to receive full oral and written information in their own language on the products and services proposed by commercial establishments in the territory, such as instructions for use, labels, lists of ingredients, advertising, guarantees and others.

 

All public signs and announcements affecting the safety of the public must be written at least in the language specific to the territory, in conditions which are not inferior to those of any other language.

 

Everyone has the right to use the language specific to the territory in his/her relations with firms, commercial establishments and private bodies and to be served or receive a reply in the same language.

 

Everyone has the right, as a client, customer, consumer or user, to receive oral and written information in the language specific to the territory from establishments open to the public.

 

Everyone has the right to carry out his/her professional activities in the language specific to the territory unless the functions inherent to the job require the use of other languages, as in the case of language teachers, translators or tourist guides.

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One thought on “SOLFED Official Statement on the Expulsion of 3 Students for speaking Ilocano

  1. The euphemistically worded expulsion of three students in Laoag City for speaking their native tongue in school is an outrageous violation of civil and human rights. The basis of dismissal of these students is founded on a fundamentally flawed, distorted, bankrupt and subservient philosophy of education and state policy. How can we ever equate the ability to speak a foreign language with “quality education?” How can the subtle killing of a people’s cultural soul be “quality education?” Many advanced countries have progressed with their own language. While learning a foreign language (like English, Chinese, Spanish, French, Arabic . . .) are advantageous, it should NOT deny people of their identity, culture, and language.

    We cannot look the other way and ignore the gross insult to a people who have long been rooted in THEIR soil before the “expeller” set his foot on it. Doing so is becoming party to a legal and moral wrongdoing. The only redemption is public apology and resignation — from the institution and the land — of the transgressor.

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