Statement of His Excellency, Jose P. Laurel, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on the propagation of the Filipino national language, December 23, 1943:

One of the factors contributory to the swift resurgence of a militant Filipino nationalism— a one that will effectively link all Filipinos together, strengthen and crystallize their awareness that they are of a common blood, a common race, a common nation, is the propagation and teaching of Tagalog, the Filipino national language.

Completely and enthusiastically sharing in the belief that the national language must be brought to the people, be made a vital part of their daily lives and an instrument of their needs and purposes, hopes and aspirations, ideas and feelings, I rejoice at the evident desires of our masses to study the language.

A concrete manifestation of the fact that language is dynamic, in a constant state of flux, is the aptitude of our people to transform a word of foreign extraction expressive of the times, the circumstance, and particular actions. As a correlative to this genius of enriching the treasure of Tagalog words is the work of the Institute of National Language. The Institute—to prove that it has viewed the problem of enrichment from the point of view of the people and by precedents established in the history of languages—envisions its work in this direction thus: “To enrich the Filipino language by utilizing as source primarily the Philippine language and then, if necessary, non-Philippine languages, adopting from these languages such terms as are already familiar to the Philippine languages, having been accepted and in general use in the same. Adoption of new words, especially for scientific, literary and technical uses, shall be based preferably on the classical languages, Greek and Latin. Foreign words thus newly formed shall be assimilated to the phonetics and orthography of the Filipino language: Provided, however, That the current spelling of family names of foreign origin and form used by Filipino shall be preserved in order not to render the identification of persons difficult.”

We are witnesses to the abundant tangibilities with which the Institute of National Language has executed its tasks in establishing and fixing the correct and standard pronunciation of the Filipino language; preparing a glossary of terms and phrases urgently needed in teaching and in office transactions; in undertaking studies and investigations on Tagalog and other Philippine literatures; in putting out the first volumes on grammar and synonyms; and in collecting and collating linguistic, philological and literary information of various kinds. As the vanguard of the linguistic advancement, the Institute, is supported by the advocates of nationalism, specifically those Tagalog scholars, researchers, and writers who believe in the idea that a common language is a marvellous equipment to arouse the need for unity. Its work has been supplemented by the Ministry of Education, Health, and Public Welfare, which has delved into the writings and ideas of Filipino heroes and martyrs, published such writings and ideas; by the generosity of some civic-minded persons who have published the works of Dr. Jose Rizal on the problems and usage of Tagalog; by the weeklies in Tagalog; and by the prolific activity of our writers.

The ultimate completion of enriching and spreading the popular use of our national language does not rest with us. Rather, it is our supreme task to prepare the ground and see that the people, whether in Luzon, in the Visayas, or in Mindanao, may passably use Tagalog in their daily communication. We, of this generation, must intensively and exhaustively endeavor in this task.

In this work, we go on the assumption that Tagalog, if spoken by a majority of our population, will redound to their benefit.

It is my belief that to exercise the greatest good for the greatest number, certain definite lines of intents and devices must be followed, altered or modified when the times and circumstances call for them.

Specifically, these are the suggestions I recommend—suggestions which I believe, touch the core of the matter and are of an elastic nature that their working starts in Government offices and ends in the education of the people:

1. An arrangement whereby classes in Tagalog can be conducted three times a week in Government offices where competent instructors are available;

2. The holding of separate classes for beginners and advanced students:

3. The organization of a special Institute designed to train officials and employees, charged with the preparation of official correspondence, which Institute may last from eight to ten weeks;

4. The broadcast of lessons over the radio three or more times a week;

5. The publication of lessons in dailies and weeklies; and

6. The printing of handbooks on the Filipino language—prepared by competent philologists—to be sold at cost.

I do not doubt that after the materialization of these suggestions and of other constructive suggestions to which, naturally the Government can only be receptive, we shall soon see marvellous proofs of the latent ability of our people to master the fundamentals and higher requirements of language. I do not doubt that in a limited period of time the facile use of Tagalog will be evident in speech and correspondence, official and private. I do not doubt that whereas, heretofore, we balked at a Babel of tongues we shall soon hear a language which will cohere the factors of union, arouse the love of all things Philippine, prod the immediate return to a study of the best thoughts which our forbears—heroes, thinkers, lovers of truth and of liberty—have drawn from their experiences, activate the swift resurgence of that militant Filipino nationalism I spoke of in the beginning.

Source: Office of the Solicitor General Library