My stepmother language is the dubious 'national language.'

My stepmother language is the dubious 'national language.' 

LET US SAY THIS and unmask this lie: One of the scholars of the University of the Philippines in Diliman has concocted a lie about his brand of 'Filipino' as native to or indigenous to the Philippines. 

Let us name him, and since he has passed on to the beyond, he can no longer talk back. 

But even when he was still alive, I have expressed ambivalence to the kind of ideology he promoted in the name of his nation and his brand of nationalism. That is Virgilio Enriquez for you, a topnotch scholar who brandished what he called 'liberation psychology' for the peoples of the Philippines.

From a philosophical sense, his was a big mistake. Leonard Mercado's attempt to use metalinguistics to get into the 'indigenous' philosophy of three huge ethnolinguistic groups (Visayan-Cebuano, Ilokano, and Tagalog) is flawed but it is far better than Enriquez's idealization of his Tagalog Bulacan as his own sense of 'Filipino' qua 'indigenous national language'.

Now, let us see the mistakes of Enriquez:

1. He says, in reaction to his colleague at the Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies: 'I must confess that I was touched and perhaps even aggrieved when told by a well-meaning colleague' that 'there is no Philippines.' [Virgilio Enriquez, Indigenous Psychology and National Consciousness, Tokyo: ILCAA-TUFS, 1989, xi.]

The colleague's sense of the phrase 'there is no Philippines' celebrated not a homogenous Philippines but a diverse one, and that, therefore, Enriquez's formulation of 'Philippine liberation linguistics' does not make sense.

His colleague was right. One cannot say that one swallow makes a summer, that his notion of Tagalog Bulacan as basis for the formulation of the conceptual grounds of 'Philippine liberation psychology' applies to all 185 indigenous ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines. There is such a thing as an intricate connection between culture and psychology and Enriquez conveniently forgot that.

But Enriquez responds to the charge of that ILCAA colleague: 'the statement (there is no Philippines) was meant to be interpreted from the anthropological point of view which emphasizes the 'cultural heterogeneity' of the Philippines and objectively characterizes the Filipino sense of nationhood or alleged absence thereof.' [xi]

And then his lifework, the one that constitutes his 'Philippine liberation psychology': 'part of the task ahead' is therefore 'to demonstrate that there is a Philippines'.

Enriquez's big mistake, the same big mistake of that associate professor of De La Salle who continues to treat advocates of multiculturalism as his vassals, is to imagine the Philippines as North Korea that speaks only one and only one language, thinks through one and only one language, and bow to one and only one liberating monster of a leader who does not know any better.

2. He say of the dubious national language: 'The article on language in the Philippine Constitution of 1986 definitely gives Filipino, the Philippine indigenous language, its rightful place vis a vis the colonial language.' [81]

Here we see clearly that Enriquez is wrong, and is passing off this wrong thing as the truth: Filipino as 'the Philippine indigenous language.'

This we must say: this is one big fat lie.

The truth of the matter is that this 'Filipino language' is not at all indigenous to the whole Philippines, but, when we are honest enough to admit that it is Tagalog, it is indigenous perhaps to Metro Manila the hegemonic center, and more indigenous to the Tagalog-speaking areas.

What we have got, ergo, is that this schizophrenic Filipino language is a stepmother language, and not a mother language of all peoples of the country but only to some of them.

Let us keep on unmasking many of the lies peddled to us by scholars, academics, and well-meaning members of the hegemonic intelligentsia. 

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