Sen. Legarda launches docu-series to highlight country’s native languages

August 18, 2022

The Philippines is well-known for its rich culture and history, as well as for its diverse languages that natives from various regions speak. Many of them are still spoken to this day, but many others are in danger of being forgotten and lost forever.

In order to educate more Filipinos about the importance of these languages, and prevent their possible extinction, Sen. Loren Legarda, in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), is set to launch Usapang Wika, a documentary,which she will host as well, featuring the country’s main languages.

The 10-part cultural documentary will highlight such widely spoken Filipino languages as Ilokano, Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a, Waray, Kapampangan, Tagalog, Bicolano and Maranaw. It will also showcase the history, literary works and evolution of each language.

Culture and arts champion Sen. Loren Legarda
Kinaray-a, the main language spoken by the people of Antique, where Sen. Legarda’s mother hailed from, is one 130 native languages spoken in the Philippines.

“Our languages are a vital part of our heritage and our identity as a nation, and we must preserve them as a sign of our respect for our history and culture. Through Usapang Wika, we aim to convey the significance of the Filipino languages by way of engaging the general public, especially the youth,” Legarda said in a press statement.

Preserving the native languages

Known to be a long-time advocate of Philippine culture and the arts, the senator has been unceasingly working on projects to push for the preservation and continued use of the country’s native languages, especially since many of them would face extinction if not adequately promoted.

According to the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), there are about 130 native languages in the country. However, the Defenders of the Indigenous Languages of the Archipelago (DILA) revealed that several of them have already become endangered.

In efforts to preserve the country’s languages, KWF and Legarda have worked together on various projects, including the Language Markers Project, which aims to mount language markers in different parts of the country where a specific language was born.

She also backed the Mother Tongue-Based Multi-Lingual Education (MTB-MLE) Program by the Department of Education (DepEd), the KWF’s publication of Atlas ng mga Wika ng Filipinas, which archives the country’s various native languages and the Pambasang Summit sa Wika ng Kalikasan at Kaligtasan event.

Opening hearts and minds virtually

Legarda emphasized that it is crucial to continue conducting programs and projects that would promote, enhance and preserve the country’s native languages and dialects, as they are “one of the important gifts that we can give to future Filipinos,” she said.

She also added that as an offshoot for the docu-series, local governments can create Usapang Wika language tours to discuss how their language came to be.

“As an offshoot of this docu-series, our local governments can even create Usapang Wika language tours to include discussions on how their language started and was embraced by the community in order to enrich the knowledge of our youth, students and tourists,” Legarda said.

Coinciding with the celebration of Buwan ng WIkang Filipino in August, Usapang Wika is set to air every Saturday, starting on August 6, 2022, from 4:30 p.m to 5:30 p.m on ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).


Source: People Asia

Sen. Legarda launches docu-series to highlight country’s native languages