Ilocano, the third most widely spoken language in the Philippines, plays an important role in the everyday lives of its speakers, especially those in Ilocano-speaking provinces. It is widely used in mass media, in governance, at home, and everywhere, except in school. That is, until recently.
For decades, Ilocano did not play an official role in education. In many cases, its use was even prohibited. But with the change in the country’s system of education from bilingual to mother-tongue-based multilingual education (MTB-MLE)1, Ilocano — and all the other major Philippine languages — will now play an important role in education.
This shift in the educational system requires a hard look at the various Philippine languages. One of the main concerns in the implementation of MTB-MLE is the supposed lack of intellectualization of Philippine languages (e.g., lack of local equivalents for technical terms, lack or absence of efficient orthography, etc).