Commission on the Filipino Language

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Commission on the Filipino Language
Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino
KWF Seal
Agency overview
Formed 1991
Jurisdiction  Philippines
Headquarters Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines
Agency executives

The Commission on the Filipino Language (Tagalog: Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino; Cebuano: Komisyon sa Pinulongang Filipino; Hiligaynon: Komisyon sa Panghambal nga Filipino; Bikolano: Komisyon sa Tataramon na Filipino; Ilokano: Komision iti Pagsasao a Filipino; Kapampangan: Komisyun king Amanung Filipinu; Pangasinan: Komisyon na Salitan Filipino; Waray: Komisyon ha Yinaknan nga Filipino) is the official regulating body of the Filipino language and the official government institution tasked with developing, preserving, and promoting the various local Philippine languages.[1][2] It was established in accord with the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. In October 2008, José L. Santos, a native of Hagonoy, Bulacan, was appointed chairman of the Commission, succeeding Ricardo María Durán Nolasco. Its office is in Watson Building, San Miguel, Manila.

Established by Republic Act No. 7104, signed on August 14, 1991, by then President Corazón Cojuangco Aquino, the Commission is a replacement for the Institute of Philippine Languages (IPL) that Aquino set up through an executive order issued in January 1987 (EO No. 117). The IPL itself replaced the older Institute of National Language (INL), established in 1937 by Commonwealth Act No. 184, s. 1936, as the first government agency to foster the development of the Philippine national language.[3]


The 1st National Assembly of the Philippines passed Commonwealth Act No. 184, s. 1936, establishing an Institute of National Language (Surian ng Wikang Pambansa). On January 12, 1937, Former President Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina appointed the members to compose the INL. By virtue of Executive Order No. 134 issued and signed by President Quezón on December 30, 1937, approved the adoption of Tagalog as the basis of the national language, and declared and proclaimed the national language based on Tagalog, as the national language of the Philippines.[4] In 1938, the INL was dissolved and replaced with the National Language Institute. Its purpose was to prepare for the nationwide teaching of the Tagalog-based national language (Wikang Pambansa na batay sa Tagalog) by creating a dictionary and a grammar book with a standardized orthography. In the School Year of 1940-41, the teaching of the national language (Wikang Pambansa), with its new standardized orthography, was set by law in the fourth year of all high schools in both public and private schools throughout the country.[5] The Tagalog-based national language was taught in school only as one of the subject areas in 1940 but was not adapted as the medium of instruction.

During the Second World War, the Japanese occupiers encouraged the use of the national language rather than English in the schools. The Tagalog-based national language was, therefore, propagated not only in education but also in mass media and in official communication. The census for 1948 reported that 7,126,913 people or 37.11% of the population spoke the language, representing an increase of 11.7% from the 1939 figure of 4,068,565. Of these seven million people, 47.7% learnt it as a second language.[6]

Original commission members (1937)

  • Jaime C. de Veyra (Samar-Leyte Visayan), Chairman[4]
  • Santiago A. Fonacier (Ilocano), Member
  • Filemon Sotto (Cebu Visayan), Member
  • Casimiro F. Perfecto (Bicol), Member
  • Felix S. Salas Rodriguez (Panay Visayan), Member
  • Hadji Butu (Moro), Member
  • Cecilio López (Tagalog), Member and Secretary

Board of Commissioners (present)

  • VIRGILIO S. ALMARIO (Tagapangulo)
  • JERRY B. GRACIO (Samar-Leyte)
  • ABDON M. BALDE JR. (Bikol)
  • NORIAM H. LADJAGAIS (Mga Wika sa Muslim Mindanao)
  • JOHN E. BARRIOS (Hiligaynon)
  • ORLANDO B. MAGNO (Sebwano)
  • JIMMY B. FONG (Mga Wika sa Kahilagaang Pamayanang Kultural)
  • LUCENA P. SAMSON (Kapampangan)
  • MA. CRISANTA N. FLORES (Pangasinan)
  • LORNA E. FLORES (Mga Wika sa Katimugang Pamayanang Kultural)


One major criticism of the Commission is that it is utterly useless in developing the Filipino language. This is grounded in the fact that Filipino was essentially Tagalog, a fact acknowledged by former Commissioner, Ricardo María Durán Nolasco,[7] and with an impoverished technical and scientific vocabulary, at that, which relies heavily on foreign borrowings and, often, constructions. It is often left to the universities to develop their own respective terminologies for each field, leading to a lack of uniformity and general public disuse.

It is argued[8] that current state of the Filipino language is contrary to the intention of Republic Act (RA) No. 7104 that requires that the national language be developed and enriched by the lexicon of the country's other languages. However, Resolution 92-1,[9] which defines the national language as "the language spoken in Metro Manila and other business centers of the country", does not necessarily run counter to RA No. 7104.

See also


  1. Wika wiki / Misyon at Bisyon
  2. "The Commission was charged with the mission not only to develop Filipino as a language of literature and as an academic language but likewise to preserve and develop the other languages".Andrew Gonzalez (1988). "The Language Planning Situation in the Philippines" (PDF). Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 19 (5&6): 508.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Catacataca, Pamfilo. "The Commission on the Filipino Language". Retrieved 2010-06-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Executive Order No. 134 : Proclaiming the national language of the Philippines based on the "Tagalog" language" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-06-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Pangilinan, Michael Raymon. "Kapampángan or Capampáñgan: Settling the Dispute on the Kapampángan Romanized Orthography" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-06-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Belvez, Paz. "Development of Filipino, the national language of the Philippines". Retrieved 2010-06-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Inquirer (2007). "New center to document Philippine dialects". Asian Journal. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-06-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  8. Congressional Record : PLENARY PROCEEDINGS OF THE 14th CONGRESS, FIRST REGULAR SESSION : HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Vol. 1, No. 11, August 14, 2007, pp. 455-460 (Rep. López opens the discussion)
  9. Resolution No. 92-1 : Description of basic Filipino language,

External links