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PNoy asks Pinoys to unite behind Filipino language


As the country celebrates Buwan ng Wika, President Benigno Aquino III on Monday asked Filipinos to unite behind the country's national language, Filipino.

"Huwag nating hayaang maikahon tayo sa pagtatagisang-dila. Pagkakaisa ang bukal kung bakit mayroon tayong pambansang wika," Aquino said during his speech at the Pambansang Kongreso sa Wika held at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Aquino, who uses Filipino in most of his speeches, including his State of the Nation Address, explained that he personally witnessed how divisive it was to have so many dialects in one country when he was still a member of the House of Representatives.

Aquino said that during one of their session days, a representative from a Quezon City district delivered a speech in Tagalog. He said that the Davo del Sur representative stood up and asked why he did that, to which the Quezon City lawmaker said it was the country's official language.

The President narrated that the Davao del Sur lawmaker then said that was not stated anywhere in the Constitution, after which the presiding officer answered them in yet another dialect, Ilocano.

"Kaya po 'yung stenographer nagtataas ng kamay at sinabing, 'Suko na ako, hindi ko na alam kung ano ang susundan dito!',” Aquino said in jest.

Aquino, however, said Filipinos should just learn to compromise instead of fighting over what dialect or language should emerge over the other.

"May tungkulin tayong palaganapin ang isang kulturang may malalim na pagkakaintindihan sa isa’t isa, gamit ang isang wikang pinagbubuklod at pinapatibay ang buong bansa," he said.

"Wika, dapat pagbubuuin tayo, hindi tayo dapat paghihiwalayin," Aquino added.

Aquino said his personal commitment to this can be seen through the use of the Filipino language in his speeches.

"Bago pa man ako mahalal, napagpasyahan kong gamitin ang Filipino sa aking mga talumpati—hindi bilang gimik o propaganda— kundi dahil ito ang tunay na tinig ng ating mga kababayan," he said.

He explained that it is important for officials like him to speak in a language that can be understood by their constituents.

"Hindi ko kailangang magtunog marunong o magmukhang matalino sa pakikipagdiyalogo gamit ang mga banyagang wika. Trabaho kong iulat sa kanila kung ano ang totoo, sa paraang simple at pinakanauunawaan ng madla," he said.

"Higit sa lahat, Filipino ang gamit ko sa tuwing kaharap ang aking mga Boss, dahil alam kong ito ang wikang pinakamalapit sa kanilang puso," Aquino added.

Section 6, Article XIV of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that "the national language of the Philippines is Filipino. As it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages." — Kimberly Jane Tan/KBK, GMA News
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