The Claim: BBM to change the National Language back to Ilocano
UniTeam Presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos spoke on March 25, 2022 at his son Sandro’s proclamation rally at Laoag City, advocating his supporters for a ‘Solid North’ vote. If elected, he guaranteed that the national language would return to Ilocano: “Magbabalik sa Ilocano ang national language.” (https://mb.com.ph/…/bongbongs-prediction-before-laoag…/).
This is false.
The Facts: Ilocano has never been institutionalized as a national language in the history of the Philippines.
The language provisions stipulated in the 1987 Constitution Article XIV, Section 6 and 7 provides the legal basis for the language policies in the country (https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/…/the-1987…/).
Section 6 states that: “The national language of the Philippines is Filipino. As it evolves, it shall be further developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and other languages.”
The development of a national language in the Philippines emerged as part of the mandate of the 1935 Constitution Article XIV Section 3. This national language must be based on one of the existing languages in the country, and a national committee was formed to determine the language on which the national language will be based. It took 3 years for the committee to decide on Tagalog.
This recommendation led to a Tagalog-based national language, eventually called Pilipino. It was not until the 1973 Constitutional Convention that the language question was conferred once again. The Committee on National Language (CNL), composed of various language experts, was established to institute a common national language based on the different native languages.
Finally, it was resolved in the 1987 Constitution that Filipino will be the national language of the Philippines, as the medium of official communication and as the language of instruction (https://ncca.gov.ph/…/development-of-filipino-the…/).
This undertaking took more than 50 years to accomplish.
Ilocano is the most commonly spoken language or lingua franca of the northern regions of Luzon with speakers forming the third largest language community in the country (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ilocano-language). It is worth noting that BBM himself revealed that he is barely fluent in Ilocano (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL_3-tnXcVg&t=4s).