WHY ISN’T the subject of Philippine Studies not conducted in Filipino, the national language?

This important question seems to be at the root of the planned Pandaigdigang Kongreso sa mga Pag-aaral hinggil sa Filipinas sa Wikang Filipino or the International Congress on Philippine Studies in Filipino. Organized by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), the Congress is scheduled to take place on 2-4 August 2017at the National Museum.

For a long time now, many studies on the Philippines as a subject matter, from history and culture to the sciences, if any, are conducted in our borrowed tongue, English. Similarly, while there are quite a number of schools and universities abroad that have more or less strong Philippine studies programs, they are understandably conducted in the country’s own language or in English.

The Congress proposes and intends to demonstrate that Philippine Studies are more properly and effectively conducted in Filipino than in any other language, especially if either foreign or local scholars would like to look deeply into the Philippine context of history, the social sciences, and other fields of knowledge concerning the Philippines and its people.

“We must reaffirm the Filipino and his and her national identity through the language that is organically connected with Philippine realities and the Filipino experience,” KWF Chairman and National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario said.

Almario and Dr. Bernardita R. Churchill, president of the Philippine Studies Association (PSA), are the convenors of the Congress, while Dr. Galileo Zafra, who heads the Filipinas Institute of Translation (FIT), has beendesignated Congress Director.

Speaking in Filipino, Zafra said that it is high time to establish Filipino as the language of knowledge in the Philippines and to use it in various disciplines and fields of knowledge, especially in the study of the nation itself. “We must use and spread the use of Filipino in the discourse about being Filipino and in addressing the Filipino nation,” he added.

Zafra also outlined the Congress objectives as, 1) To gather scholars and studies about the Philippines and to encourage them to use Filipino in their research; 2) Put together the most progressive and scientific studies on language, literature, history, art, and culture of the Philippines; 3) Develop a new perspective on Filipino; and 4) Structure a long-term strategy on education about the Philippines while using Filipino.

The Congress has called for the submission of proposed papers and issued invitations to Philippine Studies associations and related organizations, scholars in all disciplines, in the country and abroad. The proposals should be composed of the following: 1) An abstract of not more than 250 words; 2) Affiliation; 3) Organization; 4) email address; and 5) telephone or contact numbers.

The proposals must be submitted to KWF on or before 16 January 2017.

History, culture, literature, and languages will be the primary focus for the proposals. The Congress organizers will form up to three panels of three members each, and will accept up to 25 individual presentations. The proposals to be submitted should be: 1) In Filipino and Filipino will also be language of presentation; 2) An original work and has not been submitted or presented elsewhere; 3) Able to contribute a new idea and/or research in the aforementioned fields or disciplines; and 4) Able to contribute to the expansion of knowledges about Filipino and the Filipinas nation and challenge prevailing notions or theories.

The organizers also listed some 24 topics of presentation by an individual and to a panel, ranging from nation and history, rectification of history, through language and media, national literature, linguistics, language and politics, federalism, cultural roots of the drug problem, and language and the sciences and mathematics, among others.

All proposals shall be submitted to Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, Watson Bldg., 1610 Jose P. Laurel, San Miguel, 1005 Manila. Email addreses: kongreso2017@gmail.com and komfil@kwf.gov.ph.

Registration rates range from PHP2,000 to PHP3,500 for locals and $100 to $150 for foreigners. A brochure on other important Congress details will be issued together with the invitations for proposal papers and a press kit.

More details on registration and other information are available at www.kwf.gov.ph, https://pandaigdigangkongreso.wordpress.com, and Kongreso FB page (http://www.facebook.com/Kongreso2017).