Monthly Archives: March 2012

Ukol sa pag-awit ng Pambansang Awit



May panibagong aawit ng pambansang awit sa laban ni Manny Pacquiao sa Hunyo.

Ito ang problema sa mga mang-aawit na pinipili ni Pacquiao: gumagawa sila ng sarili nilang bersyon ng Pambansang Awit at mangangatwirang ginawa nila ito dahil kalayaan nila iyon bilang alagad ng sining. Nakalimutan yata nila na pamana ng ating mga bayani ang kalayaang kanilang tinatamasa–silang nagbuwis ng dugo, pawis at luha upang labanan ang mananakop sa ngalan ng Inang Bayan.

Nabibilang si Julian Felipe sa mga dakilang bayaning iyon at nararapat lamang na bigyan siya ng pagkilala sa paglikha ng Lupang Hinirang. Ito ang dahilan kaya sa Seksyon 37 ng Republic Act No. 8491 (mas kilala bilang Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines) sinasabi na dapat ginagamit ang komposisyon ni Felipe kung aawitin o tutugtugin ang Pambansang Awit.

Ito ang music sheet ng awiting iyon. Ang mga propesyonal na mang-aawit tulad ng karamihan sa mga napili ni Pacquiao ay marunong bumasa ng nota. Umaasa akong makararating ito sa panibagong mang-aawit. Kirby Asunto daw ang kanyang pangalan ayon sa ABS-CBN news.

Oo nga pala, si Lea Salonga lamang ang natatanging mang-aawit ng Lupang Hinirang sa mga laban ni Pacquiao ang nakasunod sa music sheet na ito.




A Filipino speaks Filipino in thePhilippines.

The sentence above displays two connotative meanings of the term
“Filipino” in the contemporary era.  The former pertains to those who reside in the country called the Philippines while the latter speaks of the national language of those who reside in the Philippines. No less than the 1987 Constitution confirms this in Article XIV, Section 6-7:

“Section 6. The national language of the Philippines
is Filipino. As it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the
basis of existing Philippine and other languages.


Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may
deem appropriate, 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.


Section 7. For purposes of communication and
instruction, the official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and, until
otherwise provided by law, English.


The regional languages are the auxiliary official
languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction


Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary
and optional basis.”


Prior to 1987, the national language is “Pilipino”[2]. Earlier than that, writers and historians call the national language, “national language” or wikang pambansa.

The choice of Tagalog as the basis of the national language traces its
roots during the 1930s when the bicameral Philippine Assembly began to frame
the country’s second constitution. It was this gathering of the Philippines’
best political minds that institutionalized the need for a language that will
embody a nation’s “ideals, aspirations and sentiments”[3] to foster unity in an otherwise multi-lingual country.

However, the 1935 Constitution provides the development and adoption of a
national language. It did not state which of the “numerous languages and
dialects”[4] spoken during that time is the national language. Article XIII, Section
3 states

The National Assembly shall take steps toward the
development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the
existing national languages. Until otherwise provided by law, English and
Spanish shall continue as official languages.


Hence, until 1935 there is no official national language of thePhilippines.

The choice of Tagalog as the basis of the national language is a web of
politics, linguistics and statistics. To weave through the intricate connections
of this web, it is necessary to clarify some terms to avoid confusion.

Official language refers to the language used by the government and
education in documents and official transactions.

National language refers to the language used by the Filipinos in
interaction. It is not necessarily the language spoken by the greater majority
but one that strengthens the “solidarity of the Nation”, “a native
tongue…common to the Filipinos.”[6]

Tagalog may refer to either “descendants of the Malay race” who “reside[s]
in Manila and central part of Luzon” [7].  The term may also pertain to the language of those who live in the following areas: “Manila, Laguna, Cavite,
Batangas, Bulacan, Morong, Infanta, Tayabas, Bataan, Corregidor…
Zambales, Principe, Isabella and Nueva Ecija”[8].

The aim of this paper is to trace the history on how Tagalog became the
basis of the national language. The timeline spans four decades beginning on
the year on the conception of the idea of a national language, extending on to
the years of academic and political debate on the choice of a national and
official language and ending on the implementation of the law that
institutionalizes the national language as the official language of the Philippines.
The author’s choice for this era illustrates that the concept of a national
language did not develop overnight: it sprung from a series of events that
ultimately resulted to one historic episode of Philippine history.


The year was 1900 and President William McKinley (served 1897-1901) of
the United States of America sent William Howard Taft (1857-1930) to the Philippines as the head of the Second Philippine Commission. The President instructs Taft that there must be a “common medium of communication…and it is obviously desirable that this medium should be the English language.”[9]

To promote English, President McKinley suggests using it in education so the
people of the Islands (referring to the Philippines) may acquire its use.
The medium of instruction on the other hand shall be in the “language of the

Taft was a wise judge. It is impossible to carry out the directive on the
medium of instruction. To establish a new order, they must introduce a new
language. If the teaching of this new language requires using the vernacular,
it is impossible for American teachers to learn the languages of numerous
tribes then use these to teach the natives the basics of the English language.
Therefore, Taft consulted the Filipino elite who were the leaders of the Philippines
then. They wanted to learn English. The masses agree: English was “the
indispensable language of liberty”.[11] After all, this was the time, as the First Philippine Commission reported, that the Filipinos did not want immediate independence. They want to be trained on the democratic ideals and democratic form of government by no less than the Americans.[12] Taft believed that it is more practical to conduct lessons in English for doing so hits two stones: a contribution to the Filipino culture and the transmission of liberal ideas.[13]

Taft writes to the U.S. War Department for the Annual Report of the
Philippine Commission on 1903:

“Lack of a common language was one of the fruitful
sources of trouble for Spain;
it was one of the principal causes which precipitated the insurrection against
our own country, and it is the one obstacle to-day to a complete to the
complete understanding of our motives and purposes in the islands. If
therefore, the bureau of education accomplishes nothing more than to make
English the tongue commonly spoken and commonly used by the people of the
archipelago, it will more than have justified it existence and all the expense
it has incurred.”[14]

Thus, English became the official language used in government and in

Twenty-five years later, The Monroe Survey (1925) points out the problems
on using English as the language of education: [15]

§different language environment at home and at

§“untrained and partially-educated teachers” of

§“lack of better books”; and

§“outdated methods of teaching children to read”.

All of these contributed to the failure of English to become the common
language of the Filipinos. Amidst the implementation of McKinley’s instruction,
Filipinos began to clamor for a language—one from their own—that will be used
for communication, trade, literature and education. The concept of a vernacular
national language was born.

Intellectuals began their studies on Philippine linguistics and
universities, especially the University of the Philippines (1908), led the way.[16]
Filipino and foreign scholars established linguistic societies. They published
scholarly journals of their researches. They also debated which among the
vernaculars should be the national language.[17]

Slowly but surely, the issue of language becomes nationalistic as it
became associated with independence movements.[18] The Bureau of Education closely guarded the medium of instruction as the Philippine Assembly rejected Bills no. 148 and 557: the first on teaching the local dialects, the second on using the local dialects as medium of instruction. [19]

Meanwhile, academics began to do studies on which of the vernacular
should be the national language. Among them are Eulogio Rodriguez, Cecilio
Lopez and Trinidad Rojo. Other experts selected Tagalog as the national
language since it is “well-developed grammatically”, has better literary
background and carries rich historical and patriotic sentiments.[20]

By the middle of the 1930s, Manuel L. Quezon (served 1935-1941) rose to
prominence to be the Philippine Commonwealth’s first Senate President. Quezon
was vocal on pushing Tagalog to be the national language. Quezon’s language
policy is rooted on the principle that a national language will help create
national solidarity since it will “give rise to our national aspirations which
in turn will foster the growth of sentiments of a nation.”[21]

For him, Tagalog is the language that will eradicate “sectionalism” or what
historians today refer as “regionalism”. He believed that a common language
results to national solidarity. This common language must be “spoken and
understood by all”. English cannot be this language since the Commonwealth
government spent too much time on teaching it yet the Filipino people could not
reap any benefits.

Quezon was correct and his belief will be the cornerstone among the
proponents of a vernacular national language.


The Philippine Independence Law, otherwise known as the Tydings-McDuffie
Law prescribes that the Philippine Legislature must frame a constitution that
lays the foundations of a democratic government.[22] To do so, the civil government must organize an election of delegates not later than 1 October 1934.[23] The civil government acted promptly as it held elections on 10 July 1934.

From a purely academic debate, the language question became political in
nature. There was still no law that calls for the choice of the national
language yet the clamor among intellectuals intensified. The burden of settling
this issue was on one of the committees in-charge of the consideration,
formulation and proposing the official language of the country: the Comité sobre idioma oficial or the Committee on Official Language.[24]

The Committee is composed of fifteen members[25] whose task, like any other committee of the convention, is to submit constitutional precepts, combine them to a committee report that will compose the constitutional draft. The Convention body will debate on the wording of the draft and upon approval of the body, the Special Committee on Style goes over it for a final look. Only then the Philippine Legislature will present it to the President of the United States.[26]

The Committee on Official Language came up with Informe Comité num. 35 (Committee Report no. 35) that offered to the Convention the following precepts:

“Section…English shall be the official language of the nation.

“Section…The Legislature shall provide for the creation of a permanent academy for the study of the Philippine language with a view to the adoption and development of a national language.

“Section…Until the Legislature provides otherwise, Spanish shall also be one of the official languages of the Legislature and of the Courts.

“Section…The National Language to be adopted by the Academy, when approved by the Legislature, shall become an official language together with English.”[27]

Taking a closer look on the Report, the Committee used the word
“national” instead of “official”. Committee members agree for a need of a
national language, which is different from the official language of the
country. For them to realize these, the Committee used three main sources.

First, they took in mind the views of the members of the Convention.
Second, they conducted public hearings to grasp the opinions of the people
regarding the issue of official language. Third, they consulted the studies
which have been done by the linguists prior and during the 1934 Constitutional

The debate on the need for a national language ensued on 16 August 1934.
It was the oratorical battle of those who push for English as the national
language and the Tagalistas, supporters of the Tagalog language. The debate highlighted Mountain Province Delegate Felipe R. Jose’s speech on the need for a national language, which he delivered in Tagalog. He entitled the speech as “Kailangan ang Sariling Wikang Pambansa.[29] His core message was that

“Kaya lamang tayo magiging marapat sa Kalayaan ay kung maipagsasanggalang natin ang banal na kaluluwa ng bayan, ang wikang sarili. Sapagka’t ang wika, ang wika ng alin mang bansa sa sinukob ay siyang ginagamit na mabisang kasangkapan sa pagpapahayag ng kanilang damdamin, sa pagtuklas ng karunungan at pagtatanggol ng mga karapatan.”[30]

In the same speech, Delegate Jose cites Manuel L. Quezon’s letter to the Akademya ng Wikang Tagalog dated 6 May 1930. The text compares the
multi-lingual scene of the Philippines to the Western nations who had a language adopted by its people.

“Acordemos que Ingglatera, Francia, Alemania, Espana y otros paises han tenido y todavia tienen diversos dialectos; pero hay un idioma que ha prevalecido y es lo que se ha adoptado por todos. No veo ninguna incompatibilidad entre los propositos de la Academia y los que creen que se debe continuar el uso del Ingles como lenguaje oficial antes bien creo que los fines colaboran en un progreso de nuestro pueblo.” [31]


However, it seems Delegate Jose read beyond the lines on Quezon’s letter: a national language based on the vernacular, not foreign language, makes progress possible. That national language—Delegate Jose asserts, and Sen. Jose P. Laurel concurs—must be from one of the known languages of the country to avoid wasting time on learning it. This time, Delegate Jose took it from the 5 May 1930 issue of Taliba.[32]

A week after, 23 August 1934, Delegate Jose Baltao of Nueva Ecija takes the podium and addresses the convention, on the issue of the national and official language. He cites history as example: no independent nation in the world is devoid of a national language which is from one of those spoken in that nation.[33]

Delegate Baltao stressed that the error of selecting a foreign language as the
national language is because of our faults as a people: we belittle what is
ours and exalt what is theirs (i.e., the foreign language). For him, “a common
national language will promote understanding among Filipinos, will create
public opinion, common interest, common pride and common aspiration”.[34]

Towards the end of his speech, Delegate Baltao asked the question: “But which is the vernacular that we shall declare and adopt as the national language of
the Philippine Islands?”[35] Then he pushed for Tagalog, among the different languages of the Philippines, explaining its good points:

§        Spoken in the capital (center of learning, commerce, social, industry, etc);

§        Widely understood;

§        Widely circulated: majority of literary writings are in Tagalog; and

§        Contains traces of foreign languages (Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish).[36]

Almost immediately, Delegate Enrique Sobrepeña of La Union wished to be recognized. The Convention President gave him the floor and he delivered a speech on the foundations for Philippine democracy. Here, he explained his belief that English should be the medium of instruction and official language of the Philippines. To gain independence, the Philippines must comply with the Tydings-McDuffie Law. This law specifies that there must be “adequate, popular or public instruction in English”. For there is no patent for the language of a foreign people, Filipinos could use English as the common language. After all, language is not the mere component for culture; symbols abound and these can uphold our culture while our people use a foreign
language. [37]

By 26 October 1934, the Convention body approved the first draft. The section on national language was placed under Article XIII (General Provisions), Section 2. It reads:

A national language being necessary to the solidarity of the Nation, the National Assembly shall take steps looking to the development and adoption of a language common to all people on the basis of the existing languages.[38]


Two individuals scrutinized the first draft. The first was Delegate Conrado Benitez of Laguna who aired his sentiments that the necessity of having a national language compels the Philippine government to establish an academy for national language. Thus it is therefore necessary for the Committee concerned (the Committee for National Language) to require Congress to be responsible towards the steps on
development and formation of a national language since what the Committee
offered on the national language issue is not practical. Benitez comments that
“there are many practical and more effective ways of developing a language”.[39]

A day after, 14 November 1934, the Secretary of the Convention, enumerated some shortcomings. Regarding the section on national language, he stated that there was no specific national language legislated. It also seemed that the section is a vague declaration, especially that the Constitution left the National Assembly in-charge with
taking steps on the adoption for a common national language. Further, the provision
sounds more of an expression of hope, a sentimental expression that has no
place in the Constitution.[40]

Tagalistas seemed to have the upper hand when the Convention resumed the debate on the national language question by 24 January 1935. One of the amendments to the section on national language on the first draft is this:

“El idioma es el alma de la raza. El tagalo es el idioma official del Estado filipino. La Asamblea Nacional podra decretar la continuacion o no del castellano y del ingles como idiomas oficiales.”[41]


Quite a number of delegates will propose for an amendment on this amendment. The Vice President of the Convention approved the combination of all amendments the next day.

It was the second day of the national language debate. After discussing other matters, Delegate Hermenegildo Villanueva of Negros Oriental proposed the polishing of the amendments for there are contradicting statements. Delegate Manuel Lim of Manila the interjected and suggested the division of discussion into three: the desire
to have a national language, the selection of a vernacular language to be the
national language and the National Assembly’s duties on legislating the
national language.

The Vice President of the Convention liked Delegate Lim’s idea but since the Body agreed earlier for a consolidation of all amendments, the Chair let Delegate Villanueva continue.[42] The Delegate from Negros Oriental delivered a lengthy speech on his arguments.

Towards the middle, Delegate Filemon Sotto of Cebu brought up the
issue of the number of language speakers. Using the national census, Delegate
Sotto says, speakers of Visayan outnumber the speakers of Tagalog. Since the
government is a democracy and in a democracy, there is a rule of majority, the
Convention body should select Visayan as the national language.[43]

Delegate Villanueva defended his cause, citing Professor Otley Beyer’s statistics. Delegate Sotto has a point—if linguists did not subdivide Visayan into different branches. The Tagalog speakers are still greater at “18 por ciento” since “visayo Cebuano, 16 por ciento; visayo panayano, 10 por ciento; samar y leyte, nueve por ciento…” These numbers are more accurate for the Professor did it after the census .[44]

When the Vice President of the Convention finally terminated Delegate Villanueva’s time (Villanueva asked for a couple of time extensions), the Body decided on the wording of the section on the national language. Delegate Nicolas Rafols of Cebu offered the following:

“Seran lenguajes oficiales el Español e Ingles mientras no se forme un lenguaje nacional; y cuando se forme esto, sera potestativo de la Asamblea Nacional declarer como in lenguaje official en sustitucion del Español y del Ingles.”[45]


Since there was a specific language selected to be the national and official language, it was not surprising that the Delegates took the podium one after another proposing an “enmienda a la enmienda”. The Chair (Vice President of the Convention) was able to stop this by submitting to a vote whether or not Delegate Rafol’s amendment was out of order. There were 58 affirmative votes and 29 negative votes. The Convention body rejected the Rafol’s amendment. Then Delegate Abrigo offered his own version: that the national languages will be Tagalog, Visayan and Ilocano. Delegate Camilo Osias of La Union seconded the motion. The amendment never reached to a vote for the Chair suspended the session for ten minutes. [46]

When the session resumed, Delegate Wenceslao Vinzons of Camarines Norte directed the Convention Body’s attention to the original Villanueva amendment that the Body already accepted: “The National Assembly shall take steps toward the development and adoption of the common national language based on the existing languages and until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish shall be the official

The Chair then recognized Delegate Bueno  who told the Body
that they should not select the specific vernacular to be the national
language. All native languages could be combined so that it would form a fusion
of the native languages. This should be the national language of the Philippines.
They should not also forget the viability of the Spanish and English languages
for these would enable them to understand the Western civilization.[48]

It is clear that the Body acknowledged that there should be a national language yet the question is which among the languages of the Philippines is it? The debate takes an interesting twist as Delegates Tomas Confesor of Iloilo and Camilo Osias
insist on Tagalog, Ilocano and Visayan as the national language, respectively.
Delegate Osias questioned Delegate Confesor’s support of Tagalog as the
national language since the latter was from Iloilo. Confesor reasoned that his choice was between a native or foreign language as the official language. He will choose
the native no matter what. If the choices are all native languages, then he
will choose them all.

The next day, 26 January 1935, was even more remarkable for defenders of the vernacular as national language. The day started as Delegate Osias stated his support for the Visayan and Ilocano dialects yet he did not push for it, saying it will delay the approval of the Constitution. It was here that Delegate Vinzons interpolated
saying that the Body must consider different dialects as the national language.
The President of the Convention sitting as the Chair recognized
Delegate Ysip who  emphasized the need for the discussion of the matter, lest the public “crea que hemos sido cobardes en afrontarla”.

Delegate Eusebio Orense of Batangas responded to his call and delivered a
speech on the language question and summarized the three-day debate in a single
sentence: whether they should, or should not include in the constitution a
national language, various official languages or various national languages.[49]

The debate seems to be going nowhere. Until Delegate Ysip rose and addressed the Body, “…de tal modo que sin especificar el dialecto, por lo menos expresar aquí la necesidad de un lenguaje nacional?” From then on, the Chair rejected time extensions for the speakers who followed. The Chair moved for a vote of the motion for entering the official language in the Constitution. [50] There were 58 affirmative votes and 70 negative votes. The Body rejected the motion.[51]

The Convention Body was back to square one. Oratory upon oratory, various delegates proposed Tagalog, Castilla, Ingles, Visayan and Ilocano as national language. They finally moved on when again, the Chair moved for a vote on the Villanueva amendment. There were 47 affirmative votes and 71 negative votes.[52]
The Convention body rejected Villanueva amendment. Then the Chair had the
Secretary of the Convention to read the Vinzons amendment, “The National
Assembly shall take steps towards the development and adoption of a common
national language based on existing native languages.”[53]

Delegate Vinzons moved that the body approve the amendment without debate. The Chair asked if the definition of national language is “una amalgama de los dialectos?” The Body approved the amendment. Delegate Vinzons then proposed the addition of the lines, “Until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish shall be the
official languages.” Majority accepted it.[54]

The section on national language was in Article XIII (General Provisions), Section 2-a, of the second draft of the Constitution. It reads:

“The National Assembly shall take steps toward the development and adoption of a common national language based on the existing native languages, and until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish shall be the official languages.”[55]

“Thus: the Constitutional Convention did not take it upon itself to
prescribe what should be the national language nor did it lay down the procedure
of selecting one, but it definitely charged the National Assembly with the
development of such national language.”[56]

The Committee on Style went over the second draft and completed its work on February 2-5. The third draft composed of minimal changes, among them the
section on national language in Article XIII (General Provisions), Section 3:

“The National Assembly shall take steps toward the development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native languages. Until otherwise provided by law, English and Spanish shall continue as official languages.”[57]

Comparing the two versions, there are two small revisions. Of the two, one was enough to change the context of the entire section.

First was the change in the first clause, “toward the development and adoption of a common national language based on the existing native languages…” to “toward
the development and adoption of a common national language based on one of the existing native languages” [Italics are mine –MJM]. The revised version—that was among those approved by the President of the United States, no less—obligates the National Assembly to move towards the adoption of one of the existing vernaculars. This will be the common national language. The revised version was very different
from the one understood and voted upon by the Convention body: that the national language is, using the words of the President of the Convention, “una amalgama”, a combination of all dialects.

The second change is on the last clause, from “English and Spanish shall be the official languages” to “English and Spanish shall continue as official languages” [Again, italics are mine –MJM]. The last phrase recognizes that the two languages are the official languages of the country even before the framing of the 1935 Constitution.

Quezon is now the President of the Commonwealth Government. As Chief Executive, he addressed the National Assembly of the need to create an Institute solely devoted to the study and development of the national language, the National Language InstituteThe Assembly took action when it passed Commonwealth Act no. 184, approved on 13 November 1936. The law described in detail the steps for the selection of the national language that are as follows:[58]

1.      National Language Institute must be established;

2.    “Within one year after the establishment of the Institute, it must publish studies on Philippine phonetics, orthography, words and phrases”;

3.      Immediately upon publication, the Institute was to state the native language chosen as the basis for the national language”;

4.   Institute must recommend to the President of the Commonwealth the chosen national language and its adoption;

5.      The President will write an executive order to proclaim the national language. This will “take effect two years after the proclamation”. Within those two years, the Institute must prepare a dictionary, grammar and “special directions for enrichment and purification” of the National Language; and

6.      The President must direct the Department of Public Instruction to use the National Language in all public and private schools on the date
fixed by the President.

The duties, power and responsibilities of the Institute encompasses the study of the “chief tongues spoken by at least half a million Filipinos”; making a “comparative vocabulary study of these major dialects”; investigating and determining “Philippine phonetics and orthography”; along with making “a comparative critical study of all Philippine affixes” so that the Institute can choose “the native tongue which is to be used as basis for the evolution and adoption of the Philippine national language”.[59]

The First National Assembly on its third session changed the name of the National Language Institute to Institute of National Language whose members include the President, six members to a director, seven members, one secretary and one executive officer. The change of hierarchy was to prevent regionalism as the Institute will directly report to the President and not to the National Assembly.[60]

The final list of members, along with the vernacular they speak, are the following:[61]

§        Jaime C. de Veyra, Director (Samarenyo-Bisayan)

§        Cecilio Lopez, Secretary and Executive Officer (Tagalog)

§        Felix S. Salas Rodriguez (Hiligaynon-Bisayan)

§        Santiago A. Fonacier (Iluko)

§        Casimiro
F. Perfecto (Bikol)

§        Isidro Abad (Sebu-Bisayan)

§        Zoilo Hilario (Pampangan)

§        Lope K. Santos (Tagalog)

§        Jose I. Zulueta (Pangasinan)

Yet the Institute did not follow what the law prescribed. Members lacked training and the only trained linguist (Cecilio Lopez) is the secretary but his workload will not permit him to research. Further, those who created the law did not realize the
magnitude of research that the Institute should do. Finally, there is simply
lack of time based on the timetable set by law. Table 1 summarizes the
requirements of the law and what the Institute accomplished.[62]

C. A. no. 184

Actually Accomplished

Lexicographical study of words and phrases

(Section 2)

study of words, first three letters of the alphabet

Study of Philippine Phonetics (Section 3)

Comparative Study of all Philippine affixes (Section

of affixes in Tagalog

Make choice of language most developed (Section 5)
as regards to structure, mechanics, literature, acceptance and usage of the
greatest number of Filipinos

choice based on:

comparative studies

though incomplete bibliographies available



Commonwealth Act no. 84 has a loophole though: waiting for the studies to be finished is unnecessary (as stated in Sections 2-4, or in this paper, nos. 2-4 of page 18). A time deadline pressures the Institute and they have to select a national language. Tagalog fits all the qualifications: it has 4,068,565 speakers (Cebuano has only 3,620,685); there are already dictionaries and grammars for it—also quite a few scientific investigations on comparative grammars; and the literary production includes
those done by Griffin, Pardo de Tavera, Blake, among others. Based on these findings, the Institute recommended the selection of Tagalog as the national language on 9 November 1937.[63]

Over a radiocast from Malacañan Palace on 30 December 1937, Quezon read Executive Order no. 134 that proclaims the national language of the Philippines
based on Tagalog. This law will take into effect two years later, on 30 December 1939. A year after taking in effect, public schools must begin to teach the national language.[64]



Contrary to popular belief, President Manuel Quezon was not the sole
hero of the policy on national language. Historians must also remember the
names of Hermenegildo Villanueva, Wenceslao Vinzons and Delegate Ysip as those who pushed for the adoption of a national language. Quezon laid the foundations but there were others who helped him accomplish

The choice of Tagalog as a national language is another matter. On the
previous section, this writer discussed the changes made by the Committee on
Style. On polishing the third draft, this Committee will only revise some stylistic
issues. Yet inserting the phrase “based on one of the existing languages” completely
changes the gist of the law. The Committee subtly pacified those delegates who
push for their own vernaculars to be the national language. However, to assume
that this Committee is also responsible for selecting Tagalog as the basis of
the national language is another fallacy.  Virgilio Almario, citing Jose Aruego, enumerates the members, majority are non-Tagalog.[65]

The 24 members and the province they represent are as follows: Claro M.
Recto (Batangas), Manuel Roxas (Capiz), Francisco Arellano (Sorsogon), Jose M.
Aruego (Pangasinan), Conrado Benitez (Laguna), Manuel Briones (Cebu), Jose D.
Conejero (Albay), Jesus Cuenco (Cebu), Miguel Cuaderno (Bataan), Jose M.
Delgado (Laguna), Vicente J. Francisco (Cavite), Jose M. Hontiveros (Capiz),
Jose P. Laurel (Batangas), Manuel Lim (Maynila), Ricardo Nepomuceno (Cagayan),
Rafael Palma (Maynila), Gregorio Perfecto (Maynila), Eusebio Orense (Batangas),
Camilo Osias (La Union), Jose M. Reyes (Sorsogon), Jose E. Romero (Negros
Oriental), Norberto Romualdez (Leyte), Vicente Singson Encarnacion (Ilocos
Sur), at Filemon Sotto (Cebu), Fermin G. Caram (Iloilo), Jose C. Locsin (Negros
Occidental), Ruperto Montinola (Iloilo), at Teodoro Sandiko (Bulacan).

The burden of selecting Tagalog, this writer reiterates, is on the
Institute of the National Language. Statistics played a major role, as well as
the studies conducted on Tagalog. It was not a case of Manila
imperialism, as some writers would assert. It is a complicated web of politics,
statistics and linguistics.




Frei, Ernest J. The Historical Development of the Philippine National Language. Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1959.

Laurel, Salvador H.  ed., Proceedings of the Philippine Constitutional Convention As faithfully reproduced from the personal records kept by Dr. Jose P. Laurel,Vol. 7 (Manila : Lyceum Press, 1966).


Torres, Jose Victor. “‘In the Spirit of Nobility…’ The framing of the 1935 Constitution:
A Historical Narrative of the Creation of the Law of the Land,” Ad Veritatem 10 no. 2 (March 2011): 515-534.

Electronic Sources

             Quezon, Manuel L. SPEECH OF HIS EXCELLENCY MANUEL L. QUEZON PRESIDENT OF THE PHILIPPINES ON FILIPINO NATIONAL LANGUAGE [electronic document on-line] (accessed 6 December 2011); available from; Internet.

Chan Robles Virtual Law Library, THE PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE
from; Internet.

 __________________________, 1973 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines [webpage online] accessed on 5 February 2012; available from:, Internet.

 __________________________, 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines [webpage online] accessed on 5 February 2012; available from; Internet.

 Fourth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission 1903 In three parts Parts. [electronic document on-line] Washington: Government Printing Office, 1904, accessed 1 January 2012; available from

United States Philppine Commission, 1899-1900. Report of the Philippine Commission to the President Volume I [electronic document on-line]. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900, accessed 1 January 2012; available from; Internet.


Wood, Maj. Gen. Leonard  and Hon. W. Cameron Forbes, Report of the Special Mission on Investigation to the Philippine Islands to the Secretary of War [electronic document on-line]. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1921, accessed 1 January 2012; available from

[1] Chan Robles Virtual Law Library, 1987 Constitution of
the Republic of the Philippines
[webpage online] (accessed on 5 February 2012); available from; Internet.

[2]  Chan Robles
Virtual Law Library, 1973 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines [webpage online]
(accessed on 5 February 2012); available from:,

[3] Ernest J. Frei, The Historical Development of the
Philippine National Language
(Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1959), 75.

[4] Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood and Hon. W. Cameron Forbes, Report
of the Special Mission on Investigation to the
Philippine Islands to the Secretary of War
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1921), 19.

[5] Salvador H. Laurel, ed., Proceedings of the
Philippine Constitutional Convention As faithfully reproduced from the personal
records kept by Dr. Jose P. Laurel,
Vol. 7 (Manila : Lyceum Press,
1966), 792.

[6] Frei, Op. Cit., p. 79

[7] U.S.
Congress Senate Committee on the Philippines,
[electronic document on-line] (Senate Committee on the Philippines), 1900, 10; available
from;  Internet

[8] Loc cit., p.

[9] “Pledge that has been Kept President William
McKinley’s Instruction to the Second Philippine Commission,” Pittsburgh
Commercial Gazette,
18 September 1900, p. 12.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Frei, Loc. Cit., p. 33

[12] United States Philppine Commission, 1899-1900. Report
of the Philippine Commission to the President Volume I
[electronic document
on-line]. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900, accessed 1 January
2012); available from;

[13] Frei, Ibid.

[14] Fourth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission
1903 In three parts Part.
Washington: Government Printing Office, 1904, 840.

[15] Frei, Loc. Cit., p. 55-56

[16] Frei, Loc. cit., p. 65

[17] Frei in the same work enumerates the following as the
precursor on the academic study of Philippine linguistics: (A) The
establishment of the Akademya ng Wikang Pambansa; (B) University of the
Philippines inaugurated its Department of Oriental Languages in 1923; (C)
Philippine Colegian is used as a tool for discussing topics with nationalistic
sentiment, including the using of a fused language, and not English as national
language; (D)  Otto Scheerer’s
publication of linguistic research via The Archive, the UP Department of Oriental
Language’s magazine; and (E) The linguistic problem, which became a scientific
one for a time, reverts to its nationalistic nature when it gained more support
from non-linguists such as the Philippine Medical Association and Eulogio
Rodriguez of the Philippine Library and Museum.

[18] Frei, Op. cit., p. 65

[19] Frei.  Op.
Cit., p. 63, 69

[20] Frei, Loc. Cit.,
p. 72

[21] Ibid.

Jose Victor Torres, “‘In the Spirit of Nobility…’ The framing of the
1935 Constitution: A Historical Narrative of the Creation of the Law of the
Land,” Ad Veritatem 10 no. 2
(March 2011): 516

PURPOSES. [webpage online] (accessed on 3 March 2012); available from; Internet.

Much of the documents pertaining to the 1934 Constitutional Convention are in
Spanish. The author took the liberty of translating some selections to English
for easy understanding. However, when the original language is needed, the
author shall use it. N.b. The author used Google Translate for translation.

Members of the Committee were the following delegates: Alejo Labrador
(Zambales), Paulino Gullas (Cebu), Mario Guariña (Sorsogon), Enrique C.
Sobrepeña (La Union), Paulino A. Conol (Misamis Occidental), Leon Cabarroquis
(Nueva Vizcaya), Manuel C. Fernandez (Misamis Oriental), Pedro C. Hernaez
(Negros Occidental), Jose E. Romero (Negros Oriental), Florentino O. Chioco
(Nueva Ecija), Wenceslao Q. Vinzons (Camarines Norte), Mateo Canonoy (Leyte),
Juanito T. Maramara (Cebu), Numeriano Tanopo (Pangasinan), and Atilano R. Cinco
(Leyte). This list is from a speech by Virgilio Almario on the academic
conference: Ambagan, 5 Marso 2009, Pulungang Recto, Faculty Center,
UP Diliman.

Frei, Op. cit., p. 77

Laurel, Loc. cit., p. 490-491

Laurel, Op. cit., p. 481

Laurel, Op. cit., p. 351

Laurel, Op. cit., p. 353

Laurel, Op. cit., p. 358

Laurel, Op. cit., p. 359

Laurel, Op. cit., p. 446

Laurel, Op. cit., p. 447

Laurel, Op. cit., p. 449


Laurel, Loc. cit., p. 457

Laurel, Op. cit, Vol. VII,  p. 754

Laurel, Op. cit, Vol. III,  p. 327

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. III  p. 409

[41]Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 219

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 272

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 281


Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 284

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 285

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 286

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 289.

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 306-307

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 309

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 316

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 331

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 332

Laurel, Op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 333

Laurel, Op. cit, Vol. VII,  p. 773

Frei, Op. cit., p. 80

Laurel, Op. cit, Vol. VII,  p. 792

Frei, Op. cit., p. 81-82


Frei, Op. cit., p. 83

Frei, Op. cit., p. 84

Frei, Op. cit., p. 86

Frei, Op. cit., p. 87

Manuel L. Quezon, SPEECH OF HIS
[electronic document on-line] (accessed 6 December 2011);
available from;

This list is from a speech by Virgilio Almario on the academic conference:
Ambagan, 5 Marso 2009, Pulungang Recto, Faculty Center,
UP Diliman.