English bill is not among priority bills

LAWMAKERS called on the passage of House Bill 5619, which proposes to use English as a medium of instruction in schools all over the country.

The measure is a substitute bill for House Bill No. 446, authored by Cebu City Representative Raul Del Mar, House Bill 305 authored by Cebu Representative Eduardo Gullas and House Bill 230 authored by Camarines Sur Representative Luis Villafuerte.

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“English is the language of research, engineering, science and technology and other areas and an accepted medium in global business and employment,” Del Mar said.

The bill however is still up for report on committee level.

Under the bill, all government and entrance examinations to public schools and universities will be in English. The exam may include question in Filipino but the total points should only be up to 10 percent of the exam.

Also, English, Filipino or regional/native language may be used as the medium of instruction in all subjects from pre-school until the third grade.

When fourth grade comes, English will become the primary medium of instruction until high school.

English and Filipino shall be taught as separate subjects in all levels in the elementary and high schools.

In the tertiary level, the current language policy as prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education shall be maintained.

English as a language of interaction shall also be encouraged.

The bill coincides with the ongoing move towards globalization.

According to Villafuerte, the Filipino language is not enough to have alternative terminology to English scientific language

Villafuerte said that Filipino, which is primarily Tagalog, is also as foreign a language as English to other Filipinos.

“There is no assurance that once English examinations are translated into Filipino, there will be less who will fail the exams,” he said.

The English bill is not part of the priority bills that will be tackled in the six remaining session days.

Around 85 percent of the House members have co-authored the bill.

Among them are Speaker Prospero Nograles (1st District, Davao City), Deputy Speakers Simeon Datumanong (Lone District, Maguindanao), Pablo Garcia (2nd District, Cebu), Arnulfo Fuentebella (3rd District, Camarines Sur), Eric Singson (2nd District, Ilocos Sur), Ma. Amelita C. Villarosa (Lone District, Occidental Mindoro).

Others include Representatives Arthur Defensor Sr. (3rd District, Iloilo), Jesus Crispin Remulla (3rd District, Cavite), Jose De Venecia Jr. (4th District, Pangasinan), Ronaldo Zamora (Lone District, San Juan City), Jaime Lopez (2nd District, Manila), Maria Zenaida Angping (3rd District, Manila), Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David (4th District, Manila), Amado Bagatsing (5th District, Manila), Bienvenido Abante Jr. (6th District, Manila), Vincent Crisologo (1st District, Quezon City), Mary Ann Susano (2nd District, Quezon City), and Matias Defensor Jr. (3rd District, Quezon City). (Angela Casauay/Sunnex)
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