The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), the commission on the Filipino language, in partnership with the College of Education, University of the Philippines–Diliman, will hold the National Consultative Forum on Filipino Orthography on March 11-13 2013, 8 am to 5 pm at the Benitez Auditorium, College of Education, UP-Diliman, Quezon City.
The forum aims to critically review and examine the old and current guides on Filipino orthography to be able to create an expedient and efficient system for the Philippine languages. This forum is one of the newest initiatives of the KWF under the direction of National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario, also known as the poet in Filipino Rio Alma, who recently took the helm of the commission.
Fifteen years ago, in 1993, Almario, in his book Filipino ng mga Filipino, called on the KWF to spearhead important language projects and to set credible rules and standards. Now that he is chair, he envisions accomplishing these steps of developing the national language and consequently bringing back the commission’s respected leadership as an agency that forges dynamic understanding and exchange among all language groups in the country.
In the aforementioned book, Almario writes: “As an avid observer of language, I respect usage and conventions. However, I am not like many “liberals” and like those who merely list down varieties of different language registers. I believe in speedy and practical interventions in times when there exists an anarchistic direction in the name of modernization.
“Today, the Filipino language based on Tagalog may serve as the foundation of standardization and development of the national language. This means that, on the one hand, we may use the Tagalog of today as basis for the parameters of revision, especially in writing, official communications, and educational purposes. On the other hand, policies must also be made flexible so that they could absorb modernization and the relevant contributions from various regional and indigenous languages.”
Almario joins the long line of respected figures at KWF who, at different junctures of history, served to protect and uphold the national language—Jaime C. de Veyra, Lope K. Santos, Julian Cruz Balmaceda, Cirio H. Panganiban, Cecilio Lopez, Jose Villa Panganiban, and Ponciano B.P. Pineda. Almario took his oath last January 2013 and started working with the current Board of Commissioners composed of Jerry B. Gracio (Samar-Leyte), Purificacion Delima (Iluko), Abdon M. Balde Jr. (Bikol), Noriam H. Ladjagais (Languages of Muslim Mindanao), John E. Barrios (Hiligaynon), Orlando B. Magno (Sebwano), Jimmy B. Fong (Languages of Nothern Cultural Communities), Lucena P. Samson (Kapampangan), Ma. Crisanta N. Flores (Pangasinan), and Lorna E. Flores (Languages of Southern Cultural Communities).
Esteemed scholar Dr. Galileo S. Zafra, project director of Gabay sa Editing sa Wikang Filipino, will convene the upcoming orthography forum. It will be participated in by other invited scholars, writers, editors, broadcasters, businessmen, and other professionals, who will take part in the revision and re-development of orthography.
The forum is open to public and all interested persons and parties are encouraged to participate in the discussions.
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).”