(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Wednesday, 17 April 2024) Easterlies affecting the country. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—˜π—”π—§π—›π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. 𝗙𝗒π—₯π—˜π—–π—”π—¦π—§ π—ͺπ—œπ—‘π—— 𝗔𝗑𝗗 π—–π—’π—”π—¦π—§π—”π—Ÿ π—ͺπ—”π—§π—˜π—₯ π—–π—’π—‘π——π—œπ—§π—œπ—’π—‘: Light to moderate winds coming from East to Northeast will prevail with slight to moderate seas (0.6 to 2.1 meters).

Monday, 26 February 2024

Indigenous language, mother tongue advocates converge in Caraga

By Renelle Escuadro

BUTUAN CITY (PIA) – The Caraga State University (CSU) in Butuan City served as the host of the 2024 Joint International Decade of Indigenous Languages (IDIL) and International Mother Language Day (IMLD) conference from Feb. 23 to 25.

Together with co-organizers Agusan Del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology (ASSCAT), Philippine Normal University (PNU), Talaytayan Multilinguistic Education (MLE) and Tebtebba Foundation, the conference gathered academicians, practitioners, and policymakers to promote the preservation of indigenous languages and mother tongues and discussed ways to address relative issues.

On its 3rd year, the 2024 Joint International Decade of Indigenous Languages (IDIL) and International Mother Language Day (IMLD) conference was participated by the country’s prime academicians, practitioners, and policymakers at the Activity Loft of HERO Learning Commons, Caraga State University, Butuan City on Feb. 23 to 25, 2024. Photo courtesy of IDIL and IMLD conference.

CSU President Rolyn C. Daguil took pride in hosting the convergence as a platform for sharing knowledge, experiences, and opportunities in indigenous languages and mother tongues, as the activity featured plenary sessions, parallel paper and poster presentations with topics on language, literacy, and lifelong learning, workshops, policy forums, and exhibits.

Dr. Rolyn C. Daguil, president of Caraga State University, showcased the school as a rendezvous of linguistic diversity. He emphasized the significance of the conference in preserving and celebrating the indigenous languages and mother tongues.Photo courtesy of CSU-PIO.

“Languages are vessels of our cultural heritage and essential components of identity and belonging for communities. Together, let us strive to uphold the rich tapestry of linguistic diversity and ensure that everyone is heard and valued,” Daguil said.

Dr. Joy C. Capistrano, president of ASSCAT, welcomed the participants, stating, “One of the vital solutions to solve the education crisis in the country is to reshape language, literacy, and lifelong learning. The higher education institutions (HEI) in Caraga have established their own niche relevant to indigenous people (IP) education, multicultural education, and multilingual education.”

Dr. Joy C. Capistrano, president of ASSCAT, considered the activity as a celebration of differences and recognition of indigenous communities. The gathering served as a meaningful reminder to ASSCAT that started as a Manobo farm school. Photo courtesy of IDIL and IMLD conference.

According to the Ethnologue guide, there are 7,139 officially known languages in the world, but this number is declining.

By optimistic estimates, at least 50 percent of today’s spoken languages will be extinct or seriously endangered by 2100.

More pessimistic but also realistic estimates claim that 90-95 percent will become extinct or seriously endangered by the end of this century. Most of these languages are indigenous languages. Humanity may well have only 300-600 oral languages left that are unthreatened by the end of this century.

Caraga, a hotbed of linguistic diversity

Antonio D. Igcalinos, president and trustee of Talaytayan MLE and secretariat committee co-chair, explained why the region is the best avenue for the activity, saying, “With Caraga as one of the pilot areas for the implementation of the MATATAG curriculum for basic education, it is significant for the region to host this activity, especially since our sessions include the Language Mapping Program as the country has between 120 to  187 languages.”

“This program will serve as a guide for the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to have a streamlined medium of instruction in consideration of the languages made available in the respective areas of the country,” Igcalinos explained.

In Caraga, Cebuano is spoken by 33.79 percent of households, Surigaonon is spoken by 33.21 percent, followed by Butuanon with 15 percent, Kamayo at 7.06 percent, Manobo at 4.73 percent, and the rest are IP languages in tribal communities.

Butuanon: saving a vanishing language

Butuan City Vice Mayor Lawrence Fortun commended the conduct of the 2024 Joint International Decade of Indigenous Languages (IDIL) and International Mother Language Day Conference in Butuan City, citing its relevance to the city’s efforts to improve literacy and learning in schools and integrate mother tongue as medium of instruction.

Vice Mayor Lawrence Fortun of Butuan City, who is a Butuanon by blood, heart and mind, highlighted the city government’s effort on reviving and preserving Butuanon as a mother tongue language. Photo courtesy of IDIL and IMLD conference.

“Holding this event is most welcome and auspicious in light of Butuan City’s resolute efforts to bring back to our consciousness the importance of preserving Butuanon language, our mother tongue, and indigenous languages,” Fortun shared.  

He also relayed the initiatives in the city to address the alarming state of the Butuanon language. Various groups led in crafting the Butuanon orthography to standardize how the language is written and communicated; installation of the Bantayog-Wika for the Butuanon language to symbolize its intangible cultural heritage; organizing language camps for non-speaking citizens to appreciate the language; and developing a Butuanon curriculum in which a Butuan dictionary is also near completion.

Dr. Ricardo Ma. Duran Nolasco, overall conference chair and founding chair of Talaytayan MLE Inc., recalled the three-year journey of the implementation and realization of IDIL-IMLD, highlighting the participants’ collective efforts to persevere indigenous languages and mother tongues for inclusive diversity.

“Let us not lose sight of our achievements, which should inspire us to do more for our impoverished nation,” Nolasco said. 

The United Nations General Assembly (Resolution A/RES/74/135) proclaimed the period between 2022 and 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (IDIL 2022-2032), to draw global attention to the critical situation of many indigenous languages and to mobilize stakeholders and resources for their preservation, revitalization, and promotion, with this year’s theme, "Reshaping Education through Language, Literacy and Lifelong Learning."

International Mother Language Day, on the other hand, is a worldwide annual observance held on Feb. 21 to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism. (RLE/PIA-Caraga)