HERE in Mindanao, some of us grew up speaking both English and Bisaya. But like so many others, we are made to appreciate English more than Bisaya. In the past, some teachers in the elementary and high school even imposed fines on students who spoke the vernacular.

We should remember that language is the identity of a society, thus, it should be preserved. The Bisaya language plays a critical part in the culture, history and the identity of one true Bisaya. It is also very disrespectful when the Bisaya are discouraged from speaking their native tongue.

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The Bisaya language should be included in the curriculum of every school here in Mindanao. It is not saying that other languages like English will be disregarded. It is considering that Bisaya should be taught just as in the current curriculum where English and Filipino languages are taught equally.

Majority of residents of Davao speak Bisaya, although it is a diluted one and not the classic Cebuano. Therefore, our schools should teach us English and Bisaya, not English and Tagalog. English is still the global language while Bisaya is the language we speak.

We should be taught English and our own native tongue whether it's Waray, Maranao, Ilocano, etc. That's not going to be a hindrance for national communication because English is taught everywhere in the country anyway. Even our national laws are made in English.

We preserve our identity through the continuous use of the dialect. It is also our duty to pass the language to the next generation.

We can preserve this by means of using the language in an artistic way; making Bisaya poetry for example. Because of the artistic use of the Bisaya language, it triggers us to learn more about it.

Therefore, we, Bisaya speakers, should learn to speak and write using our native language. We should be fluent in using this because it marks our Bisayan identity. It shows that our language make and keep us as one people.

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Sunday Essays are compositions by third year Masscom students of Ateneo de Davao University for their journalism class. (Donn Ahl M. Catre)