June 30, 2022 was a red-letter day for a majority of us Filipinos who had been waiting with bated breath for President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. (aka PBBM) to formally assume office. Just 11 days before, Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio had her inauguration in her native Davao City, which was attended by many.
In his inaugural speech, President Marcos Jr. reiterated the importance of developing English proficiency among us Filipinos. Such was also underscored during PBBM’s recent and first State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 25.
As a result of PBBM’s emphasis on English proficiency development among our compatriots, his statement caused people to be divided for it was polarizing, as others would say. There are naysayers, such as the notoriously leftist Alliance for Concerned Teachers (ACT) with the notoriously controversial France Castro as sitting representative, who refuse to accept the reality that English happens to be the language for science and technology, commerce, governance, medicine, law, and other related fields. Still, there are some others who laud PBBM’s pronouncement on the revival of our proficiency in English. There are even others who emphasize that English must be taught along with one’s first language (L1) and Filipino, thus the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE).
Through the years, our global reputation as one of the most fluent speakers of English has steeply declined due to so many factors. One of these happens to be mass media, which tends to propagate the erroneous use of English (and Filipino). For instance, in many newscasts by mainstream media outfits, the dominant language nowadays is Filipino (although there are English-language newscasts). Another factor is that many entertainment industry denizens tends to raise eyebrows whenever there are celebrities whose English is flawless and crystal-clear. Several other factors include crab mentality among our fellow Filipinos; refusal to read English-language reading materials published here and abroad; lack of access to quality education and literature on the part of Filipinos from far-flung territories; and, many other factors.
When we learn English, does it diminish our Filipino-ness?
The obvious answer is no.
To prove that being proficient in the universal language bolsters our Filipino-ness, I would like to underscore its role in making us shine internationally. English helps us to establish a foothold in the international scene, both professionally and culturally. When we learn to communicate with others in English in different contexts with little to no effort, we glorify our own identity and culture through our speech and actions. Developing fluency and competency in English empowers us to become more forward-thinking not only in terms of pursuing academic excellence but also upgrading our professional standards, thus being on par with our international counterparts. Learning English along with our first language and other languages has proved to promote intellectual flexibility and induce increased cognitive sharpness among people.
To revive our glory through English proficiency, we must begin within our immediate families and communities by learning English with the help of our native languages. As guardians of our culture and heritage, we must utilize English as a tool in preserving our native languages through research, promotion, and other forms of scholarship. We also need to take great pains to speak our native languages- especially those that are on the brink of extinction- and use them along with English not only for translation purposes but also for these languages to be on equal footing.
I would like to underscore the point of enhancing our English proficiency in order to prepare us for entrepreneurship (not that employment in itself is a negative thing, but we have to be more and do more) in case many of our learners (and us) would like to soar higher and eventually reach greater heights.
Let us all revive our national glory through English proficiency!
ERRATUM: For the past several weeks, I have been mentioning that Coach Jet’s Weekday Inspirations will resume its live videos in mid-June. Instead of June, it should be September. I apologize to you all for the oversight.
GUESS WHAT, GUESS WHO!
GUESS WHAT: Uncontrollable hubris and overpowering dominance are two of the not-so-secret traits of this famous Filipino so-called culinary icon. Our subject in question happens to run several restaurant chains. My source, who was a hotel and restaurant management major at the time s/he first encountered our subject, whispered to me about some unflattering stories about the chef in question, such as his/her beastly temper, intemperate and derogatory language inside and outside the hot kitchen, and dastardly treatment of kitchen staffs (including chefs). According to other reliable sources, our subject also tends to trumpet his/her accomplishments frequently, most especially the restaurants s/he runs and co-owns with several partners as well as his/her media appearances and product endorsements.
What are the lessons of the story? Be a friend to all and enemy to none. Remember to keep both feet on the ground. Let your accomplishments speak for themselves. Never steal others’ thunder and rob them of their confidence.
GUESS WHO: Who is this president of an SUC somewhere in Luzon who is as unreachable and erratic as Mount Kilimanjaro and almost inaccessible? My source, an HMO professional, got to know about our subject through research since one of my source’s tasks is prospecting. At first, our subject was cordial and reserved when s/he was first contacted by my source.
However, during the subsequent calls, either the line of the SUC president was busy or the president himself/herself dropped the call. To add insult to injury, the SUC president was also ambiguous in his/her answers. Therefore, what my source did just recently was to complain about our subject through the 8888 hotline. S/he was raging like a bull because s/he could not forget the effrontery of the SUC president in question.
What are the lessons of the story? Be accessible because you are serving the people. Never let hubris get into your head and creep into your system. Do not make your professional contacts resent you. Learn how to be definite in giving answers.
If you have suggestions in terms of the education-related topics that you want me to feature, please feel free to send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com and I will reply to you as soon as I receive your email. You may also message me on Facebook through any of my two working accounts: Jet Ramos (personal) and CoachJet Ramos (new and publicly official). You may also view my inspirational videos through my official YouTube account (my comeback will be in mid-September): Coach Jet’s Weekday Inspirations.