In Republic Act 7356, the role of
language in the promotion and development of Philippine culture and the arts
is emphasized in the provision for a national committee on language and
translation. This committee is tasked, among others, to prepare a national
translation program for notable works by Filipino author, including world
classics, into the national language, Filipino, and in other major languages
in the Philippines.
The concept "culture" as cited in R.
A. 7356, which has been translated in Filipino by the Committee on Language
and Translation, has five characteristics that constitute its principles:
(1) Culture is a right;
(2) Culture expresses the national
(3) Culture is independent, dynamic,
progressive and pro-people;
(4) Culture is of the people and therefore
the national cultural policies and programs to be formulated are
pluralistic, democratic, free and liberative; and
(5) That culture is for the people.
Section 7 of R.
A. 7356 makes the Filipino citizen, responsible for the
preservation of the national historical and cultural heritage and its
The concept "culture"
then as characterized in R. A. 7356, using the Bierstedt model (The
Social Order, R. Bierstedt, 1970) has three main elements:
(1) The ideas, beliefs,
attitudes of the people as national community, which include their
scientific knowledge and beliefs; their religious beliefs; their myth,
legends, folk literature, superstitions, riddles, proverbs and sayings,
literature, philosophy and such others;
(2) Their norms or ways of
doing, which include those as described by the Constitution; laws, rules
and regulations, credo, customs, habits, rituals, ceremonies, and modes;
(3) The material, or natural
resources they have, which include natural resources, flora and fauna,
material wealth, infrastractures, technology, artifacts, works of art, and
The linguistic resources
of the Philippines are a rich treasurehouse that hark back to at least
500,000 B.C. towards the Islamic beginnings in the 12th Century, the
Hispanic elements of three hundred years (1565-1935), the Revolutionary era
(1872-1901), the American Era (1901-1945), the Commonwealth Period
(1935-1946), the Japanese Occupation (1941-1945), the era of Philippine
Independence (1946), and from 1986, the beginning of a globalizing Republic.
Philippine Culture is a
humanizing culture, a culture of generally being for others such as
indicated in terms like "Kapwa Tao" (fellow human being), "Tao po;"
(introducing one's self at anothers house), "Tao ko" (my human being,
husband, as the wife calls him), or in the saying, "Madaling maging tao,
mahirap magpakatao:"It is easy to become a person, it is difficult to become
a human being."
ethnolinguistic communities, numbering more than 76, through their
folklores, riddles, proverbs, sayings, legends and myths, are enriching and
enriched as the national language propagates them.
The three main elements
of culture--ideas, norm and resources--are also to be found in the 11 basic
needs--food, water, shelter, clothing, livelihood, education, health, power,
mobility, recreation and leisure, and ecological balance. These basic needs
are articulated, acquired, sustained by processes of communication through
Filipino, the national
language, is being developed and enriched as the social interaction of
different ethnolinguistic communities (in terms of their respective 11 basic
needs) become more frequent and deeper through the introduction of
technology in education, in commerce, industry and business; their political
and economic development.
Filipino language is
developing culture in its elements through the phenomenon and process of
lingua franca simultaneously in different urban and urbanizing centers
throughout the country, Metro Manila, in particular.
In the study and use or
application of regional languages, including minor and major languages,
culture is promoted and developed.
The national and
collective memory of the race which are in folklore, myths, legends,
riddles, epics and the like, in a number of cases, are translated,
transposed or inspire other artistic forms in the works of painters,
writers, filmists, scultors, musicians, and composers, dance choreographers,
dramatists, and other cultural animateurs and activists, within and outside
of the academe. Traditional arts and crafts are propagated through commerce,
just as traditional rituals or legends are incorporated in or influence
Language - the national
language, Filipino, in particular - when culturally enriched by regional and
sub-regional languages of various Filipino ethnolinguistic
communities through its intellectualization, preserves national identity,
even redeeming this from its inchoate political, economic and social
environments. This national identity is strengthened by the national
language as it continues to be developed and enriched by usage even as the
Philippines aspires to have an active part in the process of globalization
of the economies of the world.
Because both written and
oral language(s) and culture do not develop in a vacuum. By a continuing
process of acculturation through, among others, language planning, usage and
through translations, the national community of artists are also
strengthened as they learn from others through English and other languages.
The potential enrichment
of language, in this case, Filipino, begins, therefore, from an
understanding of the concept culture in its various elements and
manifestations. This is specially true in the context of Philippine
historical and cultural heritage. Many more substantiation, confirmation and
affirmation can be done by research, academic and otherwise - through the
media of dissemination and communication and by social interaction.
Act 7356 calls for helping develop Philippine culture and the Arts
in an atmosphere of unbridled creativity and artistic freedom. Language and
culture - inseparable - are considered processes for national development.
The National Commission
for Culture and the Arts, as far as its National Committee on Language and
Translation is concerned, by the spirit of the law--R.A. 7356, continues to
assist in promoting a better understanding of the concept culture, its basic
elements, through its consultation processes and other projects. Also, the
Committee on Language and Translation has set upon itself the role of
preparing a national translation program within a year. The National
Committee for Language and Translation, also includes the advocacy that
government agencies become officially bilingual, through legislative and
executive measures and mandates. This advocacy considers the necessity of
formulating a program for promoting the concept of culture in its more
comprehensive meaning. As suggested here, the advocacy program must have a
system of a dynamic network, training, research, publications, and
The relation of Language
and Culture assumes cogency as Filipinos continue to celebrate the
Centennial of Philippine Independence and try to better their lives, their
economic, political and social culture. This cogency is underscored by
present moves to improve the education delivery system. As a national
community, we are enriched by the overlays of western and other cultures in
the fabric of our historical heritage, but because we indigenize these
overlays, it might take sometime before the basic characteristics of
Filipino culture concept are studied.
language and culture, when planned and implemented as a national program for
inculcating a sense of national purpose and unity, can be a challenging
project for strengthening the national identity. It can also make the
advocacy for an understanding of the relationship of language to culture and
vice-versa, a most relevant program.