July 19, 2008

As per Resolution No. 52/23 (November 27, 1997) of the United Nations General Assembly, there is a prevailing policy on Multilingualism recalling the earlier Resolution No. 50/11 (November 2, 1995). It requests the Secretary General to submit during the 54th session a comprehensive report on the implementation of Resolution No 50/11. And likewise, it also includes Multilingualism as part of the General Assembly’s agenda for the session.

The implementation of UN’s Multilingualism policy is still binding up to now. This can be observed during its Plenary Sessions and General Assemblies wherein delegates are encouraged to express themselves using their native tongue. Clearly, this policy shows that the UN sees cultural and linguistic diversity not as a threat to diplomacy and understanding, but rather as human rights that must be respected in order for nations to bridge themselves towards spiritual unity as members of the human race. This also avoids the prevalence of a dominant language or culture base which more often than not, leads to hegemony and cultural oppression which in turn leads to misunderstanding. Besides, a good number of languages die everyday in the name of linguistic uniformity. There is then a need to reverse this phenomenon.

Even if language is said to be arbitrary, the legislature is still a powerful state apparatus that could greatly influence and spell either the death or survival of the various languages. The UN seems to be on the right track in this regard just by crafting Multilingualism as a policy. In fact, UNESCO declared this year to be the International Year of Languages with the slogan: “Languages Matter!”

Although UNESCO cannot fund all of the pro-linguistic diversity projects being implemented around the globe, it encourages local initiatives. It also has a listing of some of the most important cultural and linguistic enterprises. The list includes Dalityapi Unpoemed’s Makata, a multilingual poetry site; and this blogger’s ‘Pagsasatubuanan Modernistang Poetikang Bikolnon’, a work on Bikolnon poetics written in the Bikol-Naga language.

It is a ray of hope to see Philippine based projects making it in UNESCO’s IYL list. It is a known fact that the country’s Constitution deems the other Philippine languages as mere auxiliaries to English and Tagalog/Filipino. And the prevailing policy on language in the academe is that of “Bilingualism” and not “Multilingualism”. Even with the CHED Memorandum Order No. 44 there is yet a dearth of regional literature in classroom and campus discourses. The way to go it seems is by local and individual/group initiatives from the private sector.

The Dalityapi Unpoemed has sponsored poetry readings in Manila campuses and continues to accept poetry contributions written in the various Philippine languages. While this blogger’s work on Bikolnon poetics, as it is written in a regional language, hopes to fill the scarcity of materials written in the Bikol-Naga language. Not to mention the need for more works under the genre of literary criticism to provide critical perspectives with regard Bikolnon literary aesthetics.



  1. Jerome said

    Hi. My name is Jerome Herrera. I have a forum called Penster Online. It is a forum where Filipino writers can improve their writing skills and talk
    to each other. The main goal of the forum is to find the writer in every Filipino. I was wondering if you are interested in exchanging links. Penster Online
    can be found at If you are interested, please email me at with the title of your blog/website and the
    address. Thanks and God bless.

  2. hagbayon said


    It’s great that Penster is back. And yes I am interested in exchanging links, in fact I just have to update my Penster link in this blog site. My blogs are: and

    Thank you!


  3. Try mo baya an Nuffnang.

  4. Welcome to Archipelago Music, a blog that will serve to promote new
    Philippine music (OPM) from the regions. It attempts to empower
    regional music, especially those sung in the various regional
    languages of the archipelago like Ilokano, Bikol, Kapampangan,
    Waray-Waray, Meranaw, etc., amidst the dominance of Tagalog and Pinoy
    English songs and music videos in the world of OPM.

    This is one of the advocacy projects of Kalalangan Kamaru, a
    multidisciplinary team of Kapampangan youth seeking to develop and
    propagate Kapampangan pride, culture, and language to the Kapampangan
    youth. This time, it extends its ideologies to the other
    ethnolinguistic groups to empower the regions more and make the
    Philippines a truly multicultural yet unified nation.

    visit http[colon]//archipelago-music.blogspot[dot]com

  5. hagbayon said

    Thanks Jason, I will visit your blog. More power!

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