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Wider use of Filipino encouraged by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino

To open up more opportunities and services to citizens, the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) is pushing for greater use of the Filipino language in various government agencies, through stronger enforcement of Executive Order 335.

Signed by the late Pres. Corazon Aquino, EO 335 mandated the use of Filipino in official transactions, communications, and correspondence in every agency of the government.

However, GMA News' "State of the Nation" reported Friday that the law was abandoned by subsequent presidencies.

"Bunga rin ng pangyayari na hindi ganoon ka-interesado yung ating mga sumunod na presidente," explained KWF chairman and Palanca Award-winning author, Virgilio Almario.

Only the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) still follow the EO. According to CSC director Maria Luisa Salonga-Agamata, the language is useful and effective for transactions.

Atty. Galileo Angeles, a legal expert, explained that a lack of understanding when it comes to English in contracts and other important documents can lead to serious legal complications.

"Kapag pinirmahan mo 'to, ay pine-presume ng batas na naintindihan mo," Angeles pointed out.

Furthermore, he said that although it would be desirable to translate laws into Filipino, a lot of the current legislation is borrowed from other countries, making the task difficult.

Despite this barrier, Almario stressed the importance of pushing for the use of the Filipino language to promote nationalism among the people.

"Kailangang ipakita sa pamamagitan ng wikang pambansa ang kaluluwa ng bansa sa pamamagitan ng wikang sarili sa halip ng ating colonial languages," Almario said.

Even abroad, wider usage of Filipino is encouraged to bring better accessibility to communities based elsewhere. For example, the city of San Francisco agreed to make Filipino its third required language for translations, giving its more than 10,000 Filipino residents better access to services and resources.

Lessons were also provided to Filipino-Korean children in Seoul in an effort to instill the same enthusiasm.

The program, which ends in August, was composed of 21 children aged seven to 11. The two-hour lessons were taught in a mix of Korean and Filipino.

The program will end with a Filipino camp and possible entry to the Philippine Embassy's second Filipino Speech Contest.

August, Buwan ng Wika, has several local events lined up to promote the national language. Book fairs, seminars, and a national conference for writers are just some of the offerings. — Rie Takumi/VC, GMA News