Virgilio Almario, isn't that Dictatorship of the Proliterati?

komisyonMANILA: Virgilio Almario, the Chair of the Commission on the Filipino Language (appointed by President Noynoy Aquino 30 April 2013) and a National Artist for Literature (selected 25 June 2003), perhaps doesn't know it yet, but certainly he will once he reads this:

There are clowns working for the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino today, and there's no affair being celebrated except being silly or ridiculous. Why, because the staff can't follow their own rules! And they pretend that the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) is legitimate when it is just a shadow name of the Commission on the Filipino Language (CFL).

Now, let's find out who these clowns are. Smile when you read these, from the Komisyon's own website itself (kwf.gov.ph):

(1) Who is the clown who conceived of "Resound the Filipino Reason" as an essay-writing contest in Filipino (Tagalog) but the rules are written in English?!

The rules require that you write in that language, not English. Resound means to celebrate, to praise (American Heritage Dictionary). I can play with the English language at the flick of your finger, but I won't translate that one even in my own native tongue, Ilocano. I have better things to do.

(2) Who is the clown who conceived of "Resound the Filipino Reason" as an essay writing contest in Filipino but who didn't translate it into Filipino? It sounds funny I'd rather enjoy it than translate it!

(3) Actually, the clown did not translate "Resound the Filipino Reason" from English to Filipino because he couldn't. A loser knows when to quit.

(4) The contest rules are all in English! What's the matter - they ran out of translators, or Filipino? They could have tried an Ilocano. I remember that I was the first and only Tagalog Editor in a college organ (Aggie Green & Gold, University of the Philippines College of Agriculture, 1960s) who was an Ilocano.

(5) Who is the clown who declared the rule that they should not accept emails, only personal submissions or registered mail? That clown must be living in the Age of Dinosaurs (Giant Typewriters). "Entries sent via e-mail will not be accepted." Why, was that clown afraid the website (kwf.com) will be swamped with email entries coming in at the same time their computers will crash? (Deadline is today, by the way, 01 July 2013.)

(6) Who was the clown who declared the theme to be "Wika Natin ang Daang Matuwid" but who did not translate it? I shall now try: "Our Language as the Right Way." The right way to what?

(7) The clown's instruction says to use "a Literary History approach" - try translating that in Tagalog! And just when did the Filipinistas and the Tagalistas learn the literary historical approach!? That clown's hidden agenda is to discourage everyone from joining, because he knows in his heart it's a contest nobody can win.

(8) The contest "aims to sharpen, rekindle and further intellectualize the Filipino language." How can the Filipino language that clown is talking about be sharpened, rekindled and further intellectualized when it refuses to move on from Tagalog as the sole basis of the development of The Filipino Language? Like the carabao, it keeps wallowing in its own mud. And like the carabao, you have to whip it so it will move.

Forget those clowns in the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino. The KWF itself is no laughing matter: Virgilio Almario is the head of an institution that is unconstitutional as far as I can tell. What is provided for in the 1987 Constitution is the creation of the Commission on the Filipino Language (CFL), not the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF). On 14 August 1991, President Cory Aquino signed RA 7104, providing that the Act shall henceforth be known as the "Commission on the Filipino Language Act," and creating the CFL. In the Declaration of Policy, it mandated "the Government to ensure and promote the evolution, development and further enrichment of Filipino as the language of the Philippines, on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages."

The Board Members of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino have violated their Constitutional mandate of developing the Filipino language instead of developing the Tagalog language, which they insist up to now. What do we do with violators of the Constitution? You decide. Meanwhile, I'll content myself with condemning them by paraphrasing the young Jose Rizal in his poem, "Sa Aking Mga Kabata" -

Ang sobrang magmahal sa sariling wika
Daig pa ang hayop at malansang isda!

Those who love their tongue too much
Are worse than a beast or smelly fish!

In violation of the Constitution, the first thing that the Commissioners of the Filipino Language did was translate the name of their office into Tagalog, pretending that this language is the sole basis of the Filipino language that needs to evolve.

Benefit of the doubt, if they had to translate the name, why did those Commissioners have to use the exclusive "Wika" and not the word "Salita" such as "Komisyon sa Salitang Filipino" because it sounds almost exactly and means exactly like the Ilocano word "sarita" (sarita in Ilocano also means "short story") - that would be following the Constitutional mandate of enriching Filipino "on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages." What's the matter with the Tagalogs: They don't want the Ilocanos to the contribute to the enrichment of the national language? Or are they afraid that the Ilocano language is richer than the Tagalog language?

And since we are at it, if we follow the right path according to the Constitution, "Wikang Pambansa" should be something like "Salitang Nasyon ng Filipino" because most Filipinos understand "nasyon" and in fact is already in their psyche. Yes, you actually knew it: Nacion-alista means nation-alist.

In another matter, about the names "Philippines" and "Pilipinas" for our country, Mr Almario wants them both changed to "Filipinas," arguing that "it is preposterous that citizens known to the world as the Philippines are called 'Filipinos'" (Kim Arveen Patria, 30 June 2013, ph.news.yahoo.com). You mean, Mr Almario, you haven't heard that those who live in the land of the free and the home of the brave love to be called Americans and they like to call their country the United States!? Shall we call them instead United Statesmen? I'm sure the women will object.

In fact, the resolution to change the names "Philippines" and "Pilipinas" in government documents was declared in the "Kapasiyahan ng Kalupunan ng mga Komisyoner Blg 13-19 Serye ng 2013" (Decision of the Board of Commissioners), and this refers to "pagbabalik ng gamit ng "Filipinas" habang pinipigil ang paggamit ng "Pilipinas" (the return to the use of "Filipinas" even as the use of "Pilipinas" is being stopped) (Paterno Esmaquel II, 30 June 2013, rappler.com). Again, let me point out that this resolution, never mind translating it, is illegal if not unconstitutional because it was signed only by a minority, consisting of Chair Virgilio S Almario, Commissioner Abdon M Balde Jr and Commissioner John E Barrios, when RA 7104 states that there should be 11 commissioners: Where are the others? No matter how eminent all those 3 commissioners may be, their action is questionable, to put it mildly. Is it that the majority of the members of the Commission don't agree with the Chair?

If I remember right Robert's Rules of Order that I learned as an officer (PRO) of the Future Farmers of the Philippines at the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture, no body but no body can pass a resolution with less than one-third of its members present or signing. Lack of quorum, lack of consensus, you name it.

All your Commissioners know that you, Mr Almario, are a National Artist for Literature and if indeed all of them support you in this, all the more this is a Dictatorship of the Proliterati!

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