Growing up, Saturday mornings were synonymous with Doraemon blathering away in Filipino while we enjoyed a day off school. The same still goes for the kids of today, with weekends dedicated to local channels’ cartoon marathons, usually dubbed in the mother tongue. But according to some—specifically, Sen. Pia Cayetano—broadcast stations should opt for keeping it in English instead.
“Can we start showing a lot of cartoons and family-friendly materials on our government stations. Bakit ba kailangan i-dub?” Cayetano said during a Senate hearing focused on futures thinking, as reported by GMA. “A language is learned earliest at their youngest. The earlier you are exposed to a language, the earlier you can pick it up.”
“Bakit ba kailangan ipilit i-dub ’yan? Just play it in English. It’s cartoons, it’s just meant for them to hear it… Pipilitin niyo pang i-dub ’yan, that will take more time, that will take more resources, will cost us and yet you can just be playing the thousands and millions of materials available online,” she adds.
The senator cited a 2019 study which showed that 54 percent of websites use the English language, including free educational materials available online. Sen. Cayetano argues that “jobs of the future” will involve technologies in English, and kids today may not be able to catch up without this background in the language.
Cayetano further cites Rex Wallen Tan, director of Government-Academe-Industry Network, who said, “If kids don’t understand English, they’re locked out of kind of how to learn and also how to participate in the global economy.”
“I have nothing against the mother tongue,” Sen. Cayetano said. “I’m just saying that I’ve seen a shift between the English proficiencies of the generation of my parents, to my generation, to the younger generation and that was simply because there were political positions made and the shift happened and I’m not happy about it.”
“Just by looking at the data, the English proficiency of our college students is the same as Malaysian Grade 6 students and Japan taxi drivers. Nakakahiya, nakakaawa tayo,” she added.
Still, some can’t help considering the exclusivity in brushing off Filipino-dubbed cartoons, as those local versions are more accessible to kids for entertainment.
According to Dr. Jennie Jocson of the Philippine National Research Center for Teacher Quality, it’s also important to master the mother tongue first.
“Unfortunately, the mother tongue law is not used appropriately in the basic education. It’s not taught according to the expectation of the law. It’s not taught according to how it should be taught.”
Last year, the Supreme Court’s decision to remove Filipino and Panitikan classes from the college curriculum caused an uproar on campuses and online, sprouting the #TanggolWika campaign. Even if the Court is set on their decision, those who want to place our culture in the forefront are still doing their ways to uphold the local language—even through cartoons.
Photo from Inquirer.net