Re-introduction of Spanish mandated by Arroyo in 2007, trumpeted by BS Aquino today

The re-introduction of Spanish into the education system of the Philippines was brought to the fore during the visit of Queen Sofia of Spain this week. Though originally mandated by former President Gloria Arroyo in 2007, President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III happened to be in a convenient position to herald the return of the old colonial tongue — lingua franca in some of the largest emerging markets today.

Queen Sofia expressed appreciation to Aquino for the country’s effort to reintroduce the Spanish language in the Philippine public education system as it “opens up opportunities to secure the well-being of future generations of Filipinos in the globalized world.”

The reintroduction of Spanish was just one example of what President Aquino said were strong ties between the Philippines and Spain, its colonizer of nearly four centuries.

“We are working together; whether in trade, sports, defense, or in tourism, in all the vital spheres of human endeavor,” said Aquino.

Memorandum Order Number 276 signed by then President Arroyo in 2007 orders “the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to encourage the teaching and learning of the Spanish language throughout the country” in considering that Spanish is (1) an official language of the United Nations, (2) the world’s fourth most commonly-spoken language, (3) the third most commonly-used language on the Internet after English and Chinese, (4) the language spoken by the fastest-growing market segment in North America.

The last item spells out its biggest value proposition for the average Filipino schmoe: more job opportunities both overseas and in the hundreds of call centres that dot Metro Manila.

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The key principle at work here is access. Filipinos have time and again consistently proven a chronic inability to create opportunity, capital, and wealth indigenously in quantities sufficient to employ its enormous population. Command of Spanish provides instant access to a vast knowledgebase accumulated by the Spanish-speaking world over the last 200 years. It is a knowledgebase to which knowledge is relentlessly being added at an ever increasing rate — far faster than our Tagalog-articulated knowledgebase is being augmented by both original material and translated material.

The dubious sense in wasting already-meagre state funds deployed to the country’s public education to support classroom time dedicated to Tagalog-articulated instruction has long been a hotly-debated issue. Tagalog has long been recognised as a language that does not offer clear advantages to its speakers in an increasingly competitive job market. Most plum white-collar work is easily snapped up by graduates of elite private schools where a priority placed in producing English-proficient students (that other global lingua franca) are primary value propositions. Limited slots for highly-marketable courses in top universities are virtually served on a silver platter to elite high-school graduates, and top recruiters all but limit their selection dragnet to a handful of these exceptional universities and their rarefied graduates.

Clearly the solution is obvious. It is time for a serious re-evaluation of the place of the no-results “national language” in Philippine society in today’s world in the face of evidence that can no longer be ignored — that Filipinos remain, and will remain for the foreseeable future, dependent on everything foreign to survive. By continuing this foolish insistence that a “national” language based on an intellectually barren dialect such as Tagalog be given classroom time in our public school system, we are in effect choking the ability of entire generations of Filipino youth to partake in the vast wealth of knowledge the rest of advanced humanity has to offer. At no time in history has this knowledge been so readily available. This is an immense tragedy of epic proportions.

21 Replies to “Re-introduction of Spanish mandated by Arroyo in 2007, trumpeted by BS Aquino today”

  1. “Though originally mandated by former President Gloria Arroyo in 2007, President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III happened to be in a convenient position to herald the return of the old colonial tongue ”

    That guy is the ultimate coat tail riding suck up. He doesn’t have an original bone in his body. Copying his parents or pretending he came up with things he would not have the ingenuity to come up on his own.

  2. No wonder that most of our politicians are so mediocre or has poor statesmanship quality, they don’t have any original thought. Now that I think about that would be one of the causes of the corruption that stains our nation, they have no original thought aside from thinking ways on how to dip their hands in the treasury.

  3. PNoy, so quick to once again trumpet Arroyo’s ideas as one of his own. Of course, he needs papogi points as he was probably drooling at her majesty. Sheesh.

    Nuestro Presidente es un tonto grande.

  4. No comprende Espanol. Spanish language should be taken as an Elective Subject…it is mostly spoken by the Latinos or the Hispanics, in the U.S. Most came as illegal aliens, climbing over the border fence. French is the language of diplomacy. I don’t see any advantage for the Spanish language in the next decade. It is not even the language of advance technology. Except that, we were former colony of Spain…we should not impose this language in any ,in our schools. Just a waste of time…

  5. I’ll pick up Spanish. Another door to more knowledge and opportunity opened. No sense calling it a “colonial” language when Manila people imposed their Tagalog on the rest of the Philippines and made the Filipinos fawning slaves of Kris Aquino.

    1. Philippines have long been doing ‘foreign exchange’ with the Chinese long before the Spanish. If only the people knew and believed in it more than the believing the post spanish-hate crap spewed and perpetuated by their own to promote the idea of ‘Pro-Filipino’ being a master of anything ‘Filipino’.

      It is strange considering the Philippines is blessed with having quite the diversity in South East Asia. But the government instead of embracing and using this as a form of strength to integrate it in society, ignores this and goes about the whole ‘Sole Pinoy’ ideal that is completely weak.

    2. It is easier to lean Spanish compared to French/German/Chinese for ordinary Filipinos. So yes, I don’t see any reason why this shouldn’t be reintroduced to the educational system.. it would open more doors to Filipinos.

      With that said though, I would concentrate on learning Chinese because it is more important and useful. Also, I already have a background so I can build on that.

    1. Exactly. Why is Tagalog the national language? Is there anything worthwhile written in Tagalog that wasn’t translated from another language? (Other than Rizal’s works?) It’s time to make English or Spanish the national language. After all, both of those languages are actually useful outside of the Philippines.

    2. I’m Igorot. I’d prefer English or Spanish, just to get back at those “nationalist” Tagalogs who think Igorots are a race of pygmies.

  6. Most Filipinos are already speaking a bastardized form of Spanish…and English added with that “native” flavor.

    I know I’m going to get some flak over this, but I would much prefer more focus to the Chinese language. They’re a rising economic power and what better way it is for overseas workers to find work there. Actually, why not offer more language options? It’s always nice to put being multilingual in a resume.

  7. Sure, the Chinese are becoming increasingly more powerful but who would trade with them if they had the choice? The Chinese are only interested in hegemony, especially over a country like the Philippines which they deem to be utterly inferior in every way (much like the American mindset before they invaded in 1898 and commenced their genocidal campaign).

  8. I’m a Capampangan and I will choose Spanish in a hearbeat over Tagalog! Why is Tagalog called Filipino? Is Cebuano not Filipino? Is Pampango not Filipino? It’s unfair and unjust for all the non-Tagalog Filipinos. Spanish should have been chosen as an official and National language in the first place since Spanish was used to promote Filipino nationalism hence our national anthem was in Spanish, our First Const. was in Spanish and a great vast of our literature and history were written in…guess what??? SPANISH!

  9. I’m a bisaya but i’d rather pick spanish, yeah why is tagalog became the national language, it should be bisaya or spanish because bisaya language is almost spoken in half of the philippines;visayas and mindanao. and spanish should be the next official language after bisaya. most bisaya language almost influenced with spanish its like chabacano. philippines is a member of latin union were the only one of those country who werent speak really spanish, beside if a filipino goes to south america they will look at you like latino not filipino or they’ll call you asian latino. i have loads of spanish friends then they consider me as a spanish because they said we look like latino. beside the spanish arent racist they’re friendlies like filipinos. VIVA ESPANA y FILIPINAS.

  10. I was too late to read this post, and sorry for being a necromancer of this topic. For me, ordinary young professional, our official language seems to be English and it’s okay for me. But our English is not pure US or UK English, because we adapt that language by our own, there should be Philippine English (those folks on Microsoft already knew that). personally, I sometimes mixed uk and us English, and it doesn’t matter for ordinary people who can understand and speak English, as long as it expresses the thought, then go. As for Spanish, many tagalog words are from Spanish, we should never deny that fact, maybe they can implement Spanish for educational purposes, or higher degree of communication. but it should not level the top 2 dominant language here. it should leveled on Cebuano, etc. that’s for me ^_^

  11. I’m a Cebuano and in my opinion Spanish should be reinstated back as an official language just like English and Filipino.

  12. Here in the California, there are more jobs open IF one is BILUNGUAL —–> in Spanish. Not Tagalog.

    I can not understand for the life of me ~why~ 12 units of Spanish was abolished as a requirement to graduate in college.

    I am just one of those lucky hundreds & thousands who learned Spanish in college. I may not be fluent in the language, but understanding, comprehending & my basic Spanish skills has opened doors for me here in the U.S.

    What I can not understand for the life of me is ~why~ all subjects in public schools has to be taught in Tagalog? Please explain. Tagalog will never be used in the workplace when you work overseas, in fact, most companies does not allow its employees to speak in their native tongues among themselves, especially with customers.

    Except for Pilipino subjects in all public school levels, English should be the medium of instruction. Children will have more competitive in college, and when they go out in the work force.

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