September 28, 2009

Local languages in the regions are also official languages as per the 1987 Constitution. For the purposes of instruction and communication, the official languages of the country are Filipino, and until otherwise provided by law, English. And for the same purposes, local languages shall serve as auxiliary medium (Art. 14 Sec. 6-7 of the 1987 Constitution).

Yes, auxiliary medium, but only for the purposes of instruction and communication, particularly in the academe and government subdivisions. However, as literary medium our local languages may also be construed as occupying the privileged space of being official. Likewise, literary culture is part of custom which is deemed to be not contrary to morals, law and public policy, hence countenanced by the Courts when proven as fact (Arts. 11-12 RA 386). Our country also has a prevailing policy in support of ethnicity for the framework of national unity (Art. 2 Sec. 21 of the 1987 Constitution).

Perhaps the above provisions are only in recognition of the country’s being multi-cultural and multi-lingual. Literary pursuits in the regions involving ethnicity as in the search for local aesthetics is very much lawful. In fact, when in contact with foreign states our policy shall always be for the right to self-determination (Art. 2 Sec. 7 of the 1987 Constitution). What more when we deal with fellow Filipinos under the context of nationhood?

Tomorrow, we shall be awarding prizes to some Bikolnon writers during the Bikolinismo and Premio Tomas Arejola. The more exciting part of the event is not really the awards night itself, but the opportunity of Bikol writers to gather right after the awards rites and exchange thoughts about the state of Bikol literature and its direction. And this writer is lucky enough to be part of the awards night as the book “Pagsasatubuanan: Poetikang Bikolnon” will be conferred this year’s Premio Bibiano Sabino para sa Librong Bikolnon.

The people must know that our pursuits are official in nature, and not mere auxiliary or hobby. Publishing our works and giving them prizes are just some of the ways to assert this fact. This is a happy realization for this blogger as I dig out the writer’s place under the province of our fundamental law and statutes. Literary culture is a sound custom and countenanced by law. Culture is law, as the latter is supposed to be shaped, if not influenced by the former.

Our poets are legislators too. Younger poets invoke the elder ones. Poetics is law, and if in the proper context, poems can articulate culture and native wisdom which in turn are very much suited to be a rich source of legislation and law.


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