TRO vs error-ridden Ilokano books sought

By Reynaldo E. Andres

BATAC, Ilocos Norte, May 16 — The coordinator of the Ilokano Language Program of the University of Hawaii (UH) is assailing the publication of some Ilokano books that are allegedly replete with errors in grammar and language orthography and urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to stop its distribution, sale, and use for DepEd’s Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) program.

Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili, a veteran Ilokano writer and author of Ilokano and English books, said Region 1 DepEd Director Alma Ruby Torio should seek the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop those who bought the materials from using them in classrooms and save the pupils in Grades 1, 2, and 3 from learning faulty Ilokano syntax and grammar.

Some of these Ilokano learning materials are available in some bookstores in Ilocos Norte and several Ilokano-speaking provinces in Luzon.

Copies of the book entitled,“Alpabeto Ilokano, published by Laoag-based RNT Danabon Enterprises with ISBN 978-971-0560-07-3 are the butt of criticisms in social networking sites for erroneous content.

A page from the Alpabeto Ilokano book

In an open statement posted in Facebook, the book’s writer, identified as Jhony C. Azada admitted that the errors were his, even if the book was edited by a certain Maria Eliza S. Lopez with a PhD in Education who is allegedly “ignorant on Ilokano syntax and grammar” as described by Ilokano writers here.

“This guy (Azada) who can’t write a decent Ilokano sentence is author of Alpabeto Ilokano, intended for use in the classroom and it’s not even April 1 (April Fool’s Day),” said Herdy Yumul, a college professor at the state-run Mariano Marcos State University.

The association of Ilocano writers here decried the publication of books in Ilocos region which contain faulty Ilokano grammar and syntax that do not conform to the rules prescribed in the “Tarabay iti Ortograpia ti Pagsasao nga Ilokano” as published by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF).

“We urge Dr. Torio to issue a TRO against those error-filled books, textbooks or supplementary materials, used in Ilokano MTB-MLE program,” Dr. Agcaoili said.

Along with the TRO, Dr. Agcaoili is proposing the following actions from the DepEd:

1. Recall all these materials and destroy them without destroying the environment. Perhaps the paper could be recycled;

2. Retrain all those wanting to become book authors, because they must first know the art and science of textbook writing before they can write;

3. Retrain all Ilokano MTB-MLE teachers in the Ilocos region on the art and science of Ilokano language, culture and history. In particular, an intensive training in Ilokano grammar and writing is crucial;

4. Build an Ilokano language institute in coordination with other non-government agencies who are involved in language advocacy, in transformative education, and in cultural democracy work; and

5. Demand culpability from those who, in practice, have taken advantage of the region’s Ilokano MTB-MLE initiative.(PNA)

Originally published in