Gov’t commission mulls raising pillars for all PH languages nationwide

MANILA -- The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) plans to install a monument for each of the Philippine languages throughout the country to prevent their extinction.

"There's a chance for languages spoken in your areas to have their respective monuments," National Artist for Literature and KWF Chairperson Virgilio Almario told delegates to the commission's three-day Kongreso sa Wika (language congress) that ended Saturday.

Almario said the KWF will provide, deliver, and install the monuments but the local governments must prepare the sites and pedestals.

Installing the monuments will help transform such sites into tourist destinations, he said.

"Those monuments will enable the public to learn about our country's languages," he added.

Citing the results of the KWF's 2013 survey, Bantayog ng Wika (language monument) coordinator John Lerry Dungca said the country then had about 130 native languages.

Languages die when they are no longer spoken, Dungca said, reminding the public that such cultural heritage is important.

Installation artist Luis "Junyee" Yee Jr. created one design for all Bantayog ng Wika language monuments nationwide, he said.

The bamboo-shaped monument of stainless steel is about 3 meters high.

Embossed on the stainless steel are letters in "Baybayin", an ancient form of writing, stating excerpts from Philippine hero Andres Bonifacio's poem "Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa".

Such lines' inclusion in the design aims to help promote love of country and not just the use of native languages," Yee said.

A light inside the monument would enable people to read the lines at night.

"Language is a cultural heritage that's intangible, so having physical reminders like monuments will help prevent this from becoming forgotten and eventually dying," Yee said.

The KWF has so far unveiled monuments for the languages Kinaray-a in Antique, Tuwali in Ifugao, Mandaya in Davao Oriental, and Ikalinga in Kalinga province.

This August, the National Language Month, the KWF is set to unveil two more language monuments -- the Ayta Magbukon in Batangas on Aug. 20 and Tagalog in Batangas on Aug. 23.

The Kongreso sa Wika is among the activities lined up in Metro Manila for the country's 2018 celebration of the annual Buwan ng Wika.

Proclamation 1041 series of 1997 proclaimed August of every year as Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa or National Language Month.

Earlier this year, the KWF's board of commissioners approved Resolution 18-24 that set "Filipino: Wika ng Saliksik" (Filipino: language of research) as the theme for this year's Buwan ng Wika celebration.

The theme expresses the call for the intellectualization of the Filipino language, according to the KWF, the government agency tasked to promote Filipino and other Philippine languages. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency