Alben meng manyaman, boy!

January 31, 2007

Why National Language is BS

I've been planning to write a pretty lengthy article about the topic of the National Language in the Philippines. While it is called Filipino, we don't need geniuses to see that it's plainly Tagalog. Others would argue, it's not Tagalog; that it's merely based from Tagalog.

I can only say, "Yeah right!"

Anyway, here is the article which expresses my disgust for Tagalog Imperialism in the Philippines. While it's written by a Visayan, it exactly airs out my sentiments as a Kapampangan and is exactly how I view the current Philippines -- only that the author has mastered how to academically present his stand and recommendations.


By Dr. Jose Palu-ay Dacudao
January 29, 2007

Manila Colonialism, a Brief Introduction


The center is the place wherein control resides; the peripheries are the places that are controlled. In our present social and historical context, the center is MetroManila and perhaps the adjacent CALABARZON, and the peripheries are the ‘provinces’. Some terms that are sometimes used to refer to peripheries are:

3.captive nations
4.captive peoples
5.the 4th world

(In our context, we Visayans would be regarded as captive peoples, and the Ilonggo nation as a captive nation, victims of internal colonialism. Like many other former Asian and African European colonies that are now internally being colonized by their capitals and by other native ethnic groups left in power by the former colonial masters, we have become part of the 4th world. Like them, our political, economic, and ethnolinguistic realities are slaved to the whims of the colonial capital.)

There are two general ways by which a center controls its peripheries. One is by direct means through the state apparatus, called ‘colonialism’. A second is by indirect means: economic, political, and cultural pressure, called ‘imperialism’. Manila controls its peripheries for the most part directly through the state apparatus and is thus engaged in ‘internal colonialism’. The term ‘imperial Manila’ should technically contain the term 'colonial', but in any case it does serve to highlight the abusive center.

The present situation of ‘captive nations’ is a historical consequence of the great drive of the Europeans to colonize the rest of the world in the 16th to the 19th century. Whenever a colony was established, a center was set up within the overseas colony in order to control the peripheries of the colony. When the Europeans withdrew from their colonies in the 20th century, the centers were taken over usually by the ethnic groups residing in them, and continued to implement internal colonialism under a different set of masters.

Political Solution:

Promote political autonomy in the peripheries. Movements for Independence/ Secession (synonymous terms differing only from whose viewpoint, center or periphery, you are looking from), Anarchism (not the bomb throwers of urban legends but the social theory that tries to decentralize the nation-state), Confederation, Federalism, Autonomy, and so on are manifestations of the drive of peripheral peoples for political autonomy.

Given the present conditions, it is my opinion that a concerted effort by concerned libertarians and patriots for Federalism serves the purpose to preserve our languages the best.


The economy of a colonial set-up is ‘designed’ to promote capital flight from the peripheries to the center, and also to promote the industrialization of the central area (in our context the Manila-CALABARZON) while keeping the peripheries agricultural.

1. Taxation/tribute (essentially synonymous terms in a colonial set-up with ‘taxes’ as the more socially acceptable term): This is centralized in and controlled by the center, to do as it wills. It is only by the grace of the center if the peripheries receive a share. From the point of view of the periphery, this is legalized, socially acceptable plunder.

2. Manila-based corporations (MBCs): These organizations are similar to Multinational Companies (MNCs) that transfer money to their parent nation-states from the ‘third world’. MBCs may have economic operations in the provinces, but most of their profits are transferred to Manila.

3. The upper classes of the provinces that reside in Manila: As in MBCs, the earnings of upper class families in a provincial economic operation usually end up where they reside in.

4. Unequal distribution of the industrial compartment of society, with most industries in the center (Manila-CALABARZON) , due to social and historical forces in a colonial set-up. The economy of an ecosystem can be divided for convenience into productive, industrial, service, and ‘protective’ (for our purposes the natural climax community of the area) compartments. The productive compartment produces raw materials. The industrial compartment turns the raw material into finished products, thereby adding to the value of the raw material. If the industry/factory is located in the center, as is usually the case, this added value represents a profit for the center, when it sells back the finished product to the periphery that originally produced the raw material.

5. The concentrated presence of the best educational institutions in the center because of social and historical forces in a colonial set-up. A large part of every family’s budget goes into the education of its children. If the children are educated in the center, this budget will end up in the center too.

Economic Solution: Place the control of taxes, corporations/ companies, education in the peripheries. Make laws that will encourage or require controlling families (the ‘upper class’) to reside in the peripheries. Industrialize the peripheries.


Whenever one talks about such things above, one would run into cultural/psychologi cal barriers that could be regarded as 'nationalist myths’ that apparently justify the existence of internal colonialism in the area known as the ‘Philippines’. Examples of such myths are ‘Nationalism’, ‘Nation’, ‘Nation-state’ , ‘One Country’, ‘National Language’, and so on, which the Manila-based Unitarian government promotes in schools and government institutions.

Specifically, these myths tend to promote the particular nationalism that is properly termed ‘Tagalog Nationalism’, which presupposes:

1. that nationalism (in the Philippines) is good and

2.that to be a good nationalist, one must be a good Tagalog.

Individuals, organizations, and other entities that promote Tagalog Nationalism may be described by the adjective ‘Tagalista’.

A person or organization that promotes peripheral autonomy invites the label of ‘anti’ the above myths. Since the central Philippine State itself promotes Tagalog nationalism, prevailing Philippine social norms are set against such persons and organizations.

It must be made clear that these nationalist myths are not sacred, and were invented and spread mostly only in early 20th century. The Philippines itself in a sense did not exist before the 20th century. The word ‘Filipino’ back then meant a person of Spanish descent born in what was then a colony of Spain, the Philippine Islands. Natives were called ‘Indios’.

Persons and organizations, both those in power and those aspiring for power, that want a strong centralized state generally promote these myths. For example, not only does the Manila government promote ‘Nationalism’, but also the opposition Communist Party that aims for a highly centralized state, should it succeed, in order to implement the state socialism / dictatorship of the proletariat that Marxist theory requires. As for traditional Philippine opposition political parties, fundamentally they just aim to change whoever is on top, but not the centralized system itself.

It must also be made clear that we are not opposing individual Manilenos or Tagalogs per se, but that as members of our own culture groups, we have a right to protect out own cultural identities.

How to promote nationalist myths?

A. The National Creeds: the National Anthem and National Pledge that every school child recites every morning. There are also nationalist songs and pledges sung and recited by all government employees weekly. Note that all of these are in Tagalog, and that their significant effect is to promote Tagalog Nationalism.

Solution: Demythify or desanctify these myths. Being human inventions, they are subject to the critique of human reason. For example, one can consider not singing or reciting them. Or a non-Tagalog, like an Ilonggo (or for that matter a Cebuano, Waray, Ilocano, Pangasinense, Kapampangan, Bicolano, etc.), can sing and recite them in Binisaya, thus promoting Ilonggo nationalism, which in our present social and historical context may be a good way to oppose Manila colonialism.

B. Centralized Mass Media: These promote captive provincial cultures that idolize Manila’s culture and enhances the social status of Manilenos and Tagalogs as the social majority.

Solution: Promote provincial based mass media that uses non-Tagalog languages.

C. The Educational System: This is controlled by Manila and actively promotes nationalist myths. The concentration of the best schools in Manila also results in the best minds to be educated there, thereby also promoting a loyalty to the center and its culture.

Solution: Place the control of Education in the peripheral governments. Build more good schools in the peripheries.

D. Tagalog as the National Language: This has promoted the Manila-CALABARZON status as the social majority more than any other phenomenon. Non-Tagalogs in the Philippines have become social and soon to be actual minorities. Already, the percentage of non-Tagalogs in the over-all Philippine population has been steadily decreasing as seen in NSO statistics. Historical studies indicate that this Tagalizing policy will eventually result in the death of all non-Tagalog identities if left unopposed. Unitarian governments throughout history, from Rome and the Caliphates to imperial Russia and China, have generally imposed a one-language policy, and cultures that failed to resist found themselves extinguished.

Solution: Recognize the peripheral languages as official and teach them in the peripheral schools. This is done in other countries. For example, India has about 20 official languages, Switzerland 4, Canada 2. Vietnam recognizes all its indigenous languages as official and uses them in government institutions in their traditional areas.

E. The Negligence to Teach the History of the Non-Tagalog Peoples: Where in Philippine schools can you see the history of the Visaya peoples (or for that matter Ilocano, Pangasinense, Pampango, Bicol, and so on) being taught. I myself, a Visayan, only realized that my cultural identity stems from the Sri-Visaya Empire of old when I did personal research on the origin of the term ‘Visaya’. What do present-day Visayans know of this? The histories of the peoples of
the Philippines have effectively been erased from the public’s mind.

Solution: The local schools should be required to teach local histories, from the point of view of the local ethnolinguistic people.


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