In our online chat yesterday (the immediately preceding post), there’s one thing Dr. Resty Cena and I agreed on absolutely, namely: “…calabarzon has always been MTB!”
If you don’t already know, the “calabarzon” administrative region, otherwise known as REGION IV-A, is composed of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon. These are primarily Tagalog-speaking provinces and ever since I can remember, the old Surian ng Wikang Pambansa (now the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino) had required the learning of Tagalog in both elementary and secondary schools. This requirement was expanded in 1974 with the implementation of a bilingual education policy that public education be provided from Grade I in elementary school to the fourth year of high school on the basis of using Filipino (which Tagalog morphed into ostensibly to make it more palatable to non-Tagalogs) for liberal arts classes (e.g., Filipino, social studies, civics, and physical education) and using English as the language of instruction for science courses (e.g., mathematics and science, in addition to English).
How could we forget former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s polarizing Executive Order No 201 s. 2003 (Establishing the Policy to Strengthen the Use of the English Language as a Medium of Instruction in the Educational System – [secondary level]) and implemented through DepEd Order No. 36 s. 2006 directing that courses such as English, Science, Mathematics, Technology and Livelihood Education, Music, Arts, P.E. & Health, and Citizenship Advancement Training shall be taught in English using about 70 percent of classroom teaching hours, and also directing that Filipino, Araling Panlipunan, and Edukasyon sa Pagpapahalaga shall be taught in Filipino for the remaining 30 percent.
REGION II (Cagayan Valley)
All these constitute irrefutable proof to Dr. Cena’s honest claim that “…calabarzon has always been MTB!” Students from this region whose primary mother tongue is Tagalog/Filipino are beneficiaries of the more than half a century that the government through DepEd has required Tagalog/Filipino as a language course in all public elementary and secondary schools, and also the use of Filipino as the medium of instruction for particular courses in these schools since the implementation of the bilingual education policy back in 1974. Now, why is it then that DepEd, through DepEd Order No. 90 s. 2011, took it upon itself to give 84 schools from the CALABARZON region priority in the initial funding for the implementation of MTBMLE? And why exclude the ENTIRE REGION II (Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, and Nueva Vizcaya) from this initial MTBMLE implementation funding? Logistics, my foot! Logistics didn’t seem to be a factor in giving priority to some 600 schools from predominantly Cebuano-speaking regions out of the total 1000 or so schools initially slated for MTBMLE implementation funding.
We shall keep beating up on this matter until we hear some sensible response from the Department of Education to rectify the issue.