Sotto opposes SC removal of Filipino and Panitikan in college subjects

Published November 15, 2018, 3:37 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III is opposing the Supreme Court’s (SC) recent decision removing Filipino and Panitikan as core subjects in college education, which, he feared, may result to the “further” deterioration of the country’s national language.

Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gestures after elected as a newly Senate President at Senate Building in Pasay city, May 21,2018.(Czar Dancel)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III

In a statement released Thursday, Sotto said the exclusion of Filipino from the education curriculum in universities and colleges “goes against the spirit” of the 1987 Constitution which mandates the state to uphold FilipIno as the country’s national language.

Sotto particularly cited Article 9, Section 6 of the Constitution, which says: “the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system.”

Sotto raised concern that the SC’s ruling may result in further deterioration of the Filipino language, especially among today’s youth.

“We can see these days among the youth the lack of grasp of the Filipino language and by removing this as a core subject in college or any other school level, I fear this would deteriorate even further,” Sotto said.

“The Filipino language is part of our identity as a people and as such we should strive to preserve and strengthen it at all times,” he added.

The SC had lifted the 2015 temporary restraining order disallowing the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) which directed, through a memorandum, the exclusion of Filipino and Panitikan as core subjects from the general curriculum of college courses.

The High Court ruled that the CHED memorandum is constitutional and does not violate any laws, noting that the framers of the Constitution “explained that the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication is still subject to provisions of law.”

Aside from Filipino and Panitikan, Philippine Constitution would also be excluded from the core subjects in college.

The SC decision came as it also upheld the constitutionality of the government’s K to 12 education program, which included the three subjects in Grades 1 to 10, and senior high school.