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Zambo mayor protests K-12 policy on segregation based on spoken language
The online news portal of TV5

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Mayor Celso Lobregat bewailed what he termed as creating disunity among people, the Department of Education’s (DepEd) K-12 policy of segregating school children according to language spoken.

Lobregat personally brought the matter to the attention of DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro, who immediately sent to Zamboanga City, Undersecretary Yolando Quijano over the weekend to meet with the mayor and other DepEd officials to remedy the situation.

Lobregat said the policy runs counter to the city government’s thrust to promote unity among the people and to promote and preserve the chabacano language.

The K-12 basic curriculum policy which started implementation at the opening of classes last June 4, directs the division of Grade 1 classes into sections according to the language spoken by the students: chabacano, Tausug or Muslim dialect, Bisaya and Tagalog.

“Here in Zamboanga we are trying to promote unity, we are saying that we are all Filipinos and people who come to Zamboanga from whatever place, tribe or race try to assimilate the local practice and are considered Zamboangueños,” Lobregat recounted during the 65th joint induction ceremony of the Rotary Mother Club and Rotary Anns held last Saturday evening.

He said the policy is totally unacceptable and threatened to discontinue all city government support and assistance to the DepEd if the same policy is not amended.

Upon arrival in Zamboanga City Saturday morning, Quijano met with Lobregat and later with DepEd officials in this city to map out plans for the revision of the policy in the light of the mayor’s strong objection.

“I told them that this is totally unacceptable and if you will continue to do this, I will withdraw all support that the city government is giving to the DepEd. Immediately they realized the disaster that they have created and I said you better change the sections effective Monday,” Lobregat narrated.

“And so they met and DepEd has agreed to undo the sections and to undo the damage it has done effective Monday (June 18),” he added.

The Lobregat administration continues the thrust started by the late Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat of preserving, conserving and propagating and strengthening chabacano, a Spanish derivative language which was born out of necessity of a mixture of tribes, races and culture and out evolved a distinct language that is predominantly Spanish in origin.

Lobregat recently initiated the production of El Primer Alfabeto Chabacano handbook, now distributed and used in selected elementary schools and day care centers here in Zamboanga City.

In his executive order that mandates the use of the handbook, Lobregat said chabacano traces its roots to the laying of the cornerstone of Fuerza de San Jose in 1635 which in 1719 was renamed Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragozza.

Chabacano, he stressed, is a reflection of our culture and true testimony of our heritage and our link to the glorious past.

“Chabacano is too precious and priceless legacy to relinquish and to be forgotten; chabacano is what sets us apart and distinct from the rest of the country and the rest of the world and that chabacano was one of the major reasons why Zamboanga City is now branded as Asia’s Latin City as endorsed by City Council resolution 760 and reaffirmed by Council Resolution 508,” he said.

Lobregat said the city government will remain steadfast in its resolve to perpetuate the chabacano language and will do everything to ensure that it is preserved, protected and conserved.