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Statement on the Mark Limon news story, “University of Hawai’i prof calls Quezon ‘stupid’”, Ilocos Times, July 27-August 2, 2009
By Aurelio Solver Agcaoili, PhD
President, Nakem Conferences International
Trustee, 170+MLE Talaytayan
Program Coordinator for Ilokano, University of Hawai’i
The news story, bylined by a certain Mark R. Limon, who claims that he is representing the Department of Education of the Division of Ilocos Norte, is flawed, inaccurate, and lacking in good and acceptable journalistic exercise.
I ask that this author retract his news story by coming up with a public correction of his mistake and by apologizing for his inaccuracies.
Here are the glaring mistakes:
From the news account:
1. A professor of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa called president Manuel L. Quezon “stupid” for launching the Mother Language Education.
My response: The writer does not have his facts straight here. I never said that Quezon was stupid for launching Mother Language Education. Quezon did not know what MLE was all about so how could I attribute that to him?
What to do with this pretender of a writer? He should be taught how to write as factually as he should.
2. Speaking before an audience of officials and teachers from the Department of Education and the Mariano Marcos State University in Laoag City, Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili who is lobbying for the use of mother tongue in basic instruction in local schools said that the declaration of Filipino based from Tagalog language by Quezon as the national language fostered the decline of functional literary in the country.
First off the bat: the writer does not know how to write properly. Just check his sentence. Which one is modifying which? Is he supposed to be a teacher telling the right things to his students? If he is a teacher teaching students to write, he should get out of the classroom soonest.
Next point: if he knows all the government data—and these are empirical evidences—then he should know what he is talking about: that we have gone to the dogs because of the government’s bilingual education policy. This is a flawed philosophy and practice of equitable education. He should check TIMMS. He should read other publicly available data from Deped. He should check the BESRA document. He should check the premise of the Gunigundo Bill. He should check the premise of the Deped Order No. 74 S. 2009. He should understand by heart the intent of EFA of which we are a signatory. And if he does not know where to look because he is ignorant, he can always ask me. My email is: email@example.com.
3. Teachers who attended the occasion, while they approved the use of mother tongue in the basic instruction in schools (sic), consider the remarks of Agcaoili as a disrespect (sic) in the memory of Quezon as one of the greatest president (sic) of the country and a contempt (sic) on the Philippine Constitution.
First off the bat again: he should return to grammar school. Just look at the ‘sics’. There are so many. And we call him a writer?
Second: what ‘remarks’ is he talking about when his lead sentence is wrong?
He speaks of me as having “contempt of the Philippine Constitution.”
Is it contempt of the Philippine Constitution, to use his phrase, to fight for the constitutional and fundamental rights of students, their fundamental right to their languages and cultures, their fundamental right to get educated through their own languages? When a government deprives its citizens of their rights to their languages and cultures—and their right to get quality education because it is an education grounded in the language that they know—is this not a fundamental violation of human rights by the same government that makes pronouncements of its respect for these rights? Here is where the sense of citizenship is called for—a sense of citizenship this ‘writer’ does not have a full grasp of.
In following the logic of the ‘writer’, he commits so many fallacies, including a fallacy we call sweeping statement or hasty generalization or insufficient evidence. His use of the phrase, “Teachers who attended,” without a qualifying quantitative marker, is rather unfortunate. He has not learned enough from his argumentation class much less from his philosophical analysis course.
Here is his first lesson in the logic of statement making: an A-statement (which is a universal affirmative, really) is not the same as an I-statement (which is a particular affirmative). We should remind him: One swallow does not make a summer, dear teacher. His logic is convoluted. He writes incoherently as well. He will never make it in my philosophy class.
4. Agcaoili is in Laoag City to attend (sic) the Launching (sic) of the Mother Language Education (sic)…
Wrong: I was not in Laoag simply to attend. I was there to speak and to serve as one of the leaders and organizers of the forum.
If he cannot even grant me this role that I played to hold the forum, what does he know then?
The MLE Forum was a joint project of 170+MLE Talaytayan, the Nakem Conferences International, the Nakem Conferences Philippines, and Mariano Marcos State University.
In that forum, we purposely invited the three superintendents of the three divisions of schools in the province to serve as panel reactors. We involved the local governments units, which was why representatives from the Office of the Governor and from the Office of the City Mayor of Laoag came.
Meaning, the MLE Forum is an initiative drawn up from our concerted effort in the nationwide alliance and that I was not there simply to ‘attend’ that forum. Fact is fact.
We wanted all the members of the community to understand that it is our fundamental right to demand from the socially irresponsible government for what is due us.
We wanted the teachers to understand that we cannot take this wanton ‘lobotomization’ of our people sitting down any longer.
We wanted people to understand that there is plausibility and promise in a political imaginary we call cultural pluralism in education and in the performance of our public lives, a performance informed and guided by our celebration of our diversity as a nation-state.
We wanted to announce that there is hope in Philippine education, that sector that is in the top list of the corrupt government bureaucracy; that light is possible in this darkness that we are all going through and which has been our lot for so long and which we must now refuse and resist in a concerted way; and that social and educational redemption can be had if we all worked together to struggle for the pursuit of what has been denied of us for decades.
I am not sorry that this message fell on deaf ears (such as those of Limon’s) and that the ‘writer’ slanted the news story to suit his ill-conceived motives. I have only some pity for him. He is supposed to be a public school teacher and he should know better.
5. …and to launch the compilation (sic) of researches of the Nakem conferences 2007-2008 entitled SUKIMAT.
Wrong: this phrase does not make sense for its fuzzy ideas, as cloudy as the mind of Limon.
Fact: SUKIMAT IS NOT A MERE COMPILATION.
‘To anthologize’ is not the same as ‘to compile’.
Limon, certainly, can compile with his clear books and binders. But with the kind of writing that he displayed with this questionable news account that put me in a bad light, I doubt if he can anthologize.
Sukimat—if he has read it—is an anthology of conference papers Limon is not capable of writing or presenting in an international conference that gathers many of the best minds of the Ilocos and the Amianan, including one paper from abroad. Certainly, with his kind of writing and way of thinking, he cannot be included in this list of the best minds.
His knowledge of book writing and ‘compiling’ is as pedantic as his reasoning.
His use of that inappropriate term ‘compiling’ is rather crude and reveals his lack of knowledge of intellectual refereeing process, editorial work, and book publishing.
The book gathers 12 of the conference papers presented in the two Nakem international conferences; the papers form a unity that is beyond the mental capacity of this public school teacher who should be forced to go back to school and learn the basics of education to human freedom, to the ethics of writing, and to education to democracy and justice. He probably has not heard anything about liberatory education and emancipatory pedagogy.
In my critical introduction of Sukimat and in the foreword of MMSU President Miriam E. Pascua, the historical and thematic contexts—even the ideological perspectives deployed in our choice of articles as editors (Dr. Alegria Tan Visaya, Dr. Anabelle Castro Felipe, and myself)—the philosophy behind this anthology (a philosophy subsumed under a new category of epistemological perspective and engagement we are fighting for and which we tentatively call ‘Ilokano and Amianan Studies’) has been explained, expounded, elaborated. In his short-cut way of informing what the Sukimat is, he ended up telling a half-truth, which is the same as a half-lie.
Maasiak kadagiti adalan daytoy a maestro a din sa met nakasursuro.
And to think that we are paying for his public school teacher’s salary, his action is most abominable.
He is doing a public disservice. He should be held accountable, to say the least.
Honolulu, Hawaii/ August 21, 2009