3 Students at Saviour’s Christian Academy, Laoag City, Expelled for speaking Ilocano



Herdy La. Yumul Riknakem

Herdy La. Yumul

This is how Herdy La. Yumul picked up the story in his Riknakem blog and forthwith kicked up a tsunami whose powerful waves have no indication of ebbing so far, especially in August which is designated as Buwan ng Wika:

“You are not respecting my school!” said the school president with a raised voice. Then, gesturing like he was going to smash his mobile phone unto the boy, he exclaimed, “You want me throw my cell phone at you? You bit*h!”

This is what a teary-eyed Kleinee Bautista recalls happened when Reverend Brian Shah, president of Saviour’s Christian Academy, talked to him in his office Wednesday last week, July 31. Already devastated by the harsh words, the 13-year old boy’s world crumbled when the pastor-president handed a decision: he is dismissed from the school.

Kleinee’s offense? He, along with two other Grade 8 students, spoke Ilokano inside the campus.

Pastor Brian Shah

Pastor Brian Shah

Cristeta A. Pedro Principal

Cristeta A. Pedro

The above letter is a copy of the Memo from SCA Principal Cristeta A. Pedro advising Carl Andrew A. Abadilla, one of the three students, “to transfer to another school effective today, July 31, 2013”. Ah, they think it’s the Christian way to advise a student to transfer to another school instead of bluntly telling him that he is being expelled, hasta la vista, hijo!

The third student expelled from Saviour’s Christian Academy for the same offense is Samuel Respicio. The three students — all 13 years old – were reportedly in their classroom on July 30 when they spoke in Ilocano during breaktime. One of their classmates who overheard the conversation in Ilocano which is in violation of the English-only-within-the-confines-of-the-school policy ratted on them to the school authorities.

The incident has generated a tremendous storm of comments (click here to read comments to Yumul’s post in his blog). The last comment I found there today is from a bryanshah – about which we have not confirmed if it was from the Rev. Brian Shah:


well all i can say is that you can talk and talk but in the end it will be a cold day in hell if i will accept back the three expelled pupils… THATS MY FINAL WORD!!!

Note the “y” in the commenter’s name.

Ms. Etta Rosales

Ms. Etta Rosales

Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili

Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili

Dr. Ricardo Nolasco

Dr. Ricardo Nolasco

The dismissal incident has outraged a nation and the world — in the media, and especially in the Internet. Different actions to address the issue have been proposed. One that is being passed around on social media (Facebook) is a  PETITION TO REMOVE FOR CAUSE REV DR BRIAN SHAH FROM HIS POST AS PRESIDENT OF SAVIOUR’S CHRISTIAN ACADEMY AND TO CAUSE HIS LEAVING THE PHILIPPINES IMMEDIATELY initiated by Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and NAKEM President. Still another is the following letter addressed to Ms. Etta Rosales, Chair, Commission on Human Rights, from Dr. Ricardo Ma. Nolasco of the UP Department of Linguistics:


The above incident is apparently not the first one. We hope it is the last one.

One thought on “3 Students at Saviour’s Christian Academy, Laoag City, Expelled for speaking Ilocano

  1. He should be deported ASAP. He is an undesirable alien..and also should cease being a pastor in the Philippines more particularly in the Ilocos Region. We must not wait for the cell phone to hit an Ilocano speaking student.

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