UPDATED, February 2, 2013–National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario (the poet Rio Alma), chairman emeritus of the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (Umpil), was sworn in early evening of Jan. 29, 2013 as the new chair of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF).
Executive Judge Fernando T. Sagun Jr. of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court administered Almario’s oath at the Bulwagan ng Hustisya, Quezon City Hall. Malacañang released Almario’s appointment last January 23, 2013.
Aside from the chairmanship, Almario will hold representation of the Tagalog language in the commission.
New language commissioners have also been appointed, namely, Purificion Delima (Ilokano), Jerry Gracio (Samar-Leyte), Abdon Balde Jr. (Bikol), Noriam H. Ladjagais (Muslim Mindanao), Orlando Magno (Cebuano) and Jimmy Fong (Northern Cultural Communities).
Delima is a language scholar and professor, while Gracio is a multi-awarded poet in Waray and Filipino. A Bikol poet laureate, Balde is author of a number of novels in Filipino and is a recipient of the South East Asia Write Award from the Thai Royalty. Ladjagais has already served the commission as representative of the languages of her region. Magno on the other hand is an educator and playwright in Cebuano. An Ibaloi, Fong teaches with the University of the Philippines-Baguio.
The KWF is a duly legislated agency operating under the Office of the President of the Philippines. Created through Republic Act 7104 of 1991, the commission is tasked to “ensure and uphold the evolution and further cultivation of Filipino, the national language of the Philippines, based on existing languages in the Philippines and other languages (…tiyakin at itaguyod ang ebolusyon, pagpapaunlad at pagpapayaman pa ng Filipino na wikang pambansa ng Pilipinas, batay sa umiiral na mga wika ng Pilipinas at iba pang wika).”