PHILIPPINES – The Philippines celebrates Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa (National Language Month) this August. The month-long nationwide activities are led by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), with the theme Wikang Filipino: Mula Baler Hanggang Buong Pilipinas. The celebration coincides with the 400th anniversary of the Municipality of Baler, Aurora Province. Baler is the birthplace of Manuel Luis Quezon, Father of the National Language.
The 2009 Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa aims to highlight the importance of the National Language to our national identity and culture and to promote it as a medium of communication. It aims to advance the use of Filipino as a language for teaching, in literature and in cultural discussions; to emphasize its role as an effective instrument for the economic stability of the country.
Each week of the month of August will focus on a specific topic, namely, “The Filipino Language: An Important Tool to Exhibit Valor, Excellence, and Industry for Freedom,’’ August 1-7; “Filipino Language: Key to National Identity,’’ August 8-15; “Filipino Language: Instrument toward Effective Communication and for Teaching Language and Literature,’’ August 16-22; and “Filipino Language: From Baler to Batanes and Tawi-Tawi,’’ August 23-31. These events highlight the significance of the Filipinos’ national language, Filipino.
In celebrating Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa, the proponents also commemorate the struggle of the Filipinos’ forefathers for the freedom that laid the groundwork for the development of a national language embracing their common aspirations and uniting them as a people despite the geographic divide. KWF also recognizes that the Filipino language is enriched by words from various cultures. And they celebrate the many regional languages of the Philippines that co-exist with, and continue to contribute to the creation of, an intricately woven, rich, and continually evolving medium of oral and written communication that is called Filipino.
WKF aims to keep the National Language alive by using, enriching, and making it responsive to the needs of the times, while preserving what makes it distinctly Filipino.
Each year, educational institutions such as schools, universities and government agencies celebrate this event through various activities such as essay writing contests, exhibits, parades and other contests showcasing the use of the Filipino language.
On March 26, 1946, President Sergio Osmeña issued Proclamation No. 35 that designated the period from March 27 to April 2 as National Language Week each year.
Then, on September 23, 1955, President Ramon Magsaysay issued Proclamation No. 186 that declared August 13-19 of every year as the National Language Week.
President Magsaysay changed the date of its celebration in honour of the “Father of our National Language,” President Manuel Quezon’s birth anniversary. The change also made possible for students and teachers to celebrate the event in their respective academic grounds.
After the remarkable EDSA Revolution, first female president Corazon Aquino issued Proclamation No. 19 on August 12, 1988 to reiterate the proclamation of the National Language Week on August 13-19, every year.
To further strengthen previous proclamations, President Fidel Ramos issued Proclamation No. 1041 on January 15, 1997, which declared the whole month of August as the “National Language Month.”