September 02, 2014 
 
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The Commission on the Filipino Language
Pamfilo D. Catacataca
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       The Commission on the Filipino Language (CFL) is a government office under the Office of the President (OP) created by Republic Act No. 7104, signed on August 14, 1991 by Former President Corazon C. Aquino. It replaced the Institute of Philippine Languages (IPL) which replaced the Institute of National Language (INL) by virtue of Executive Order NO. 117 issued by President Aquino in January 1987. The INL, established in 1937 by Commonwealth Act No. 184, s. 1936, is the first government agency to initiate the development of the Philippine national language.

       The 1987 Constitution, Article XIV, Section 8 provides that "the Congress shall establish a national language commission composed of representatives of various regions and disciplines which shall undertake, coordinate and promote researches for the development, propagation, and preservation of Filipino and other Philippine languages.

       The CFL's vision is to make Filipino an effective instrument of national development. Its mission is to undertake, coordinate and implement research programs and projects for the further development and enrichment of the Filipino language. CFL likewise aims at the preservation and maintenance of other native languages of the country.

       Among the powers, functions and duties of the CFL are (1) to formulate policies, plans and programs to ensure the further development, enrichment, propagation and preservation of Filipino and other Philippine languages; (2) promulgate rules, regulations and guidelines to implement its policis, plans and programs; (3) undertake or contract research and other studies to promote the evolution, development, enrichment and eventual standardization of Filipino and other Philippine languages; (4) propose guidelines and standards for linguistic forms and expressions in all official communications, publications, textbooks and other reading and teaching materials; (5) encourage to promote, through a system of incentives, grants and awards, the writing and publication in Filipino and other Philippine languages of original works, including textbooks and reference materials in various disciplines; (6) create and maintain within the Commission a division of translation which shall encourage through incentives, undertake and vigorously support the translation into Filipino and other Philippine languages of important historical works and cultural traditions of ethnolinguistic groups, laws, resolutions, and other legislative enactments.

       The CFL shall be composed of eleven (11) commissioners, one of whom shall serve as Chairman. The Commissioners shall represent the major Philippine languages: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon and the major languages of Muslim Mindanao. The Northern Cultural Communities, Southern Cultural Communities and such other Philippine languages or ethno-linguistic regions as the Commission may decide upon; and at least four (4) of these Commissioners shall also represent various disciplines. (R.A. No. 7104, Section 5)

       The five promotional divisions of the CFL are: (1) Linguistic Division whose major functions are to undertake continuing research on phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics of Filipino; write an official reference grammar and a pedagogical grammar of Filipino; and study the possible applications of modern linguistic theory and grammatical noderls to the analysis of Filipino structure; (2) Lexicography Division that is in charge of conducting studies on Philippine lexicography problems and explore the applicability of modern lexicographical theories to the compilation of Philippine dictionaries; periodically revise existing dictionaries and compile new ones in order order to meet the communication needs of governemnt, the schools, and other sectors of society; and document current changes in meaning, pronunciation and usage; (3) Translation Division that is in charge of undertaking a continuing study of both theoretical and practical problems of translation related to Filipino and other Philippine languages; translate into Filipino (and other Philippine languages if required and necessary) important government records, documents, laws, proceedings, manuals and other related materials; and translate into Filipino major works in literature an in the various fields of knowledge; (4) Information and Publications Division whose major functions included the maintenance of accurate record of all laws, acts, executive orders, administrative circulars and all other official issuances on the national language; organizing training, conferences, seminars, workshops and fora on the national language and its use, and coordinate promotional and campaign activities with language organizations and Filipino teachers associations; and preparing informations and Filipino teachers associations; and preparing informations brochures on all aspects of the national language; and (5) Other Languages and Literature Division tasked with gathering of bibiliographical information on the various ethnolinguistic groups, with special emphasis on language and inter-ethnic communication, oral and written literature, folk arts, and culture; collecting, conducting studies and preservation of available documents, relics and artifacts of local culture.

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About the Author:
Pamfilo D. Catacataca obtained his Ph.D. in Language Teaching at the University of the Philippines. He was named Outstanding Employee (1967) of the Institute of National Language where he was Director IV from 1993 to 1997.He teaches at the Graduate Division of the National Teachers College.
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