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There is already a law and DepEd Department Order requiring that Mother Tongue Based – Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) will be used in teaching Kindergarten up to Grade 3.  It means that the mother language of the child will be used. Generally in Bohol, the mother language is Sugboánon Binisayâ.

When the Department Order was issued I was requested to deliver a lecture regarding Sugboánon Binisayâ  to the officials of DepEd Region 7.  The participants were the Regional Director down to the Supervising Teachers.

After the lecture, there developed a reticence of the DepEd Officials to use standard grammatical Binisayâ.  The general opinion is to use only the colloquial Binisayâ in teaching the pupils.


Our colloquial language has no proper grammar.  It is a mixture of Binisayâ, English, Spanish, and Tagalog grammars.  In effect it has no hope of becoming intellectualized to develop critical thinking.

Difference In Perspective

If the DepEd 7 will use the colloquial Binisayâ, we in the Akademiyang Binisayâ, LUDABI, Bathalad, etc. will not contest the decision.  The basic question is whose grammar will be used?

The present school teachers know only the English grammar.  The children know only the Bisayan grammar used in their homes.

The English language is an inflectional language.  It relies so much on the verb in a sentence.  The verb will indicate the tense, number, case, etc. of the meaning in a sentence.

The Sugboanon Binisayâ is an agglutinative language.  It relies so much on the affixes.  The affixes such as “gi..”, “na..”, nag..”, “mo..”, “..on”, etc. will indicate the tense, number, intention, etc. There are more than 4,000 affixes in Binisayâ (my partial list now is 4,222).  It means that Binisayâ has a well developed grammar that is different from English.


If you will use English grammar in teaching Binisayâ, it is like playing basketball using the rules of volleyball.  The basketball game could not be played.


Teacher’s Difficulty

When I interviewed the school teachers they admitted that they have difficulty in using Binisayâ as the medium of instruction.  They could not reconcile the English grammar with the grammar of Binisayâ because they do not know it.

The textbooks they are using have English grammar using Bisayan words.  It was developed by teachers who know only the English grammar.  I know it because at the start I was a consultant.  When I made corrections the teachers will insist in their English grammar.  I did not sign the result and so in the succeeding books I was no longer consulted.  For example, English has only three (3) degrees of comparison like “big”, “bigger”, and “biggest”.  Binisayâ has five (5) degrees of comparison like “dakô”, “dakô-dakô”, “labing dakô”, “kinadák-an”, and “kinadák-an kaáyo/jámò/uyámot”. (Note: pinaka.., as in pinakadakô is Tagalog.)


Need of Retooling

When you manufacture wooden items you will use the tools fitted for wood.  If you will use metallic materials, you will change your tools or retool correspondingly.


It is very clear that the teachers need retooling or retraining.  The first batch of teachers was sent to Tagaytay City to be trained by Tagalogs how to teach Binisayâ.  In the succeeding batches, the teachers were trained by teachers who know only the English grammar.

I trained the teachers in Cordova, Cebu for one year (classes every Saturday) before the law was passed.  I volunteered my services to the Regional Director and so many reasons were given why the teachers could not be trained.

I tried the City of Tagbilaran Division and Negros Oriental Division still no deal.  I tried the towns, and still no deal.

A Different Tact

The Rotary Club of Upper Tagbilaran (RCUT) knew of my predicament.  So we tied a different tact.  We requested the teachers to voluntarily gather themselves in order to be trained.  The RCUT will shoulder all the expenses.  When the teachers from the towns gathered and asked permission from their superiors they were given many reasons why they could not be allowed.

Finally the RCUT decided that we will not ask permission from DepEd Officials.  Rotarian Arnold Corciega volunteered to do it in Jagna, Bohol.

Finally we were able to conduct the training-seminar in the morning and afternoon of August 1, 2015 and on August 8.  There were sixty (60) participants of the four (4) sessions with three (3) hours per session.

The first 3-hour session was the metalingual aspect of Binisayâ.  The second was for science, the third was for mathematics, and the fourth session was for orthography, phonics, and grammar.

As a session breaker, I inserted the national anthem in Binisayâ, children’s songs in Binisayâ, children’s stories, bálak, etc.

The Oh’s and the Ah’s

You can really notice how the teachers and prospective teachers were relieved of their difficulties when you can hear the loud  “Oh’s” and “Ah’s”.

I asked them which is correct, “Kinsay imong ngalan?” or “Unsay imong ngalan?, almost everybody answered “Unsay imong ngalan?” because in English it is “What is your name”.  There is no “Who is your name? = Kinsay imong ngalan” in English.

I told them that you are correct in your English, but this is Binisayâ. “Kinsay imong ngalan?” is used when you intend that only the person asked will answer.  In “Unsay imong ngalan?” anybody could answer.  The response was loud “Ah”.

After our breakthrough there are now other requests for training but mostly from private schools.  Where are the public school teachers? (By Jes B. Tirol)

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