AUGUST of each year in the Philippines is filled with a flurry of activities that aim to rekindle patriotism and love for country.
The whole month of August is declared as “Buwan ng Wika” in honor of the Filipino language while every fourth Sunday of August is observed as National Heroes Day.
In addition, the Provincial Government of Pampanga has declared every last Friday of August as “Aldo ning Amanung Sisuan” in honor of the Kapampangan language.
Reading about the origin of the Buwan ng Wika celebration, I discovered the not-so publicized string of presidential proclamations which led to the current month-long commemoration.
If we recall correctly it was former President Manuel Quezon who spoused the creation of a national language called Filipino, which is largely based on the dominant Tagalog language, during the Commonwealth Period.
After Quezon’s death, the president who succeeded him Sergio Osmeña issued Proclamation No. 35 on March 26, 1946 which declared the celebration of “Linggo ng Wika” from March 27 to April 2 of each year, the last day being the birthday of renowned Tagalog writer Francisco Balagtas.
From that year until 1954, the National Language Week was celebrated in March and April of each year.
On September 23, 1955, President Ramon Magsaysay declared August 13 to 19 of every year as the “Linggo ng Wika” through Proclamation No. 186. This time around, the last day of the celebration is the birthday of President Manuel Quezon who is considered the “Ama ng Wikang Pambansa.”
This celebration stuck for many decades until President Corazon Aquino affirmed the National Language Week commemoration on the same dates through Proclamation No. 19 issued on August 12, 1988.
It was on January 15, 1997 when President Fidel Ramos finally declared the whole month of August as “Buwan ng Wika” through Proclamation No. 1041 and we have been honoring our national language throughout this month since then.
Similarly, our own Provincial Government of Pampanga through the Provincial Council’s Resolution no. 1993 declared the last Friday of August 2008 and every year thereafter as the Aldo ning Amanung Sisuan as a tribute to the Kapampangan mother tongue.
The commemoration of the National Heroes Day each fourth Sunday of August has been in effect since October 28, 1931 through Act No. 3827. The date coincides with what is deemed to be the historic cry of Pugad Lawin in 1896, a pivotal point in the Philippine revolution.
Knowing the history of these historic dates is one thing. How we commemorate them is another.
Our languages, whether Filipino or Kapampangan, must be put to good use in our daily lives and not just during the Buwan ng Wika. The sacrifice of our heroes must be made worthy with how our generation takes its turn in serving our country, not just once a year but every day of our lives.