House tackles bill to end use of multi-lingual education from Kinder to Grade 3

Published July 18, 2020, 1:49 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The House Committee on Basic Education and Culture has vowed to immediately tackle a bill seeking to abrogate the implementation of the mother tongue-based multilingual education for students from Kindergarten to Grade 3. 


Pasig City lone district Rep. Roman Romulo, panel chairman, assured Baguio City lone district Rep. Mark Go that House Bill No.  6405 will be included in their priority list.

“We will schedule your bill immediately,” he said during the recent virtual meeting of the House panel, even as he asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to submit their recommendations as far as Go’s measure is concerned. 

“Pagbigyan natin ang (Let’s allow) DepEd to be the ones to brainstorm among themselves para (so that) in a way from experts din natin makuha ang (we can get the recommendation from experts) recommendation, from DepEd itself, kung ano talaga ang dapat gawin para makatulong sa learners natin (to determine what should be done to help our learners). Let us give them enough time. I’m sure they will give us the objective thing to do on this matter,” Romulo said. 

Go said the Philippines’ poor ranking the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) should prod the Congress to consider abrogating the mandatory use of regional languages as the primary media of instruction in Kindergarten to Grade 3, and relegate such languages as auxiliary media of instruction as provided for by the Constitution. 

“In urbanized cities, when it is multicultural, how do you determine the mother tongue? It is going to be difficult. We are just creating a certain degree,  probably confusion among children in all areas. Puwedeng tingnan muna ‘yun (Maybe we can look at it), magkaroon ng tunay na pagaaral kasi multicultural nga dito (There should be real assessment because we are a multicultural country.) Especially now, migration is common in all areas. That’s one to me is one of the limitiations we have to look at,” he said. 

He noted that in 2013, the use of regional and native languages as the medium of instruction for students in the Kindergarten until Grade was institutionalized following the passage of Republic Act No. 10533. 

“‘Yung bill(Under the bill) , gusto natin (what we want) , ibalik (we revert back to) either English or Filipino [as mother language or first language], that can probably unify the country,” Go said.

“It is good to have diversity, but the diversity should bring a new unity that is good for the whole country,” he pointed out. 

He noted that Filipino and English languages remain to be the most widely used in commerce and social media, and there are readily available instructional materials in Filipino and English, which learners and teachers can use. 

“The formative years of the students from kindergarten to Grade 3 are crucial in preparing them for personal and academic development. Ultimately,  it is the development of the learners that would suffer when we impose the mandatory use of the mother tongue when the teachers themselves are not equipped to teach using the mother tongue,  and the learners are more competent with using Filipino or English,” Go said.