BJPC’s Xander Cipriano (top-left), BJPC’s Hazel Laplana (top-right), Dr. Francisco (bottom-left), HF’s Lance Mejico (bottom-right)

SGPCL Director bags recognition from Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino

Following his notable contributions in the cultivation of Filipino language, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) hailed DLSU-D’s School of Governance, Public Service, and Corporate Leadership (SGPCL) Director Dr. Christian George Francisco as a Gawad Dangal ng Wika awardee for 2021

In a joint interview with student media organizations, Francisco expressed his feelings over the recognition, stating that the KWF achievement serves as a validation of his two-decade experience in teaching the Filipino language and Philippine culture. 

“Personally and professionally, mas nakita kong dapat pag-igihan ‘yung mga ginagawa ko pa. Dapat magsaliksik pa ako, dapat sumulat pa ako ng maraming sulatin ito man ay libro o pananaliksik kasi kinakailangan ng bayan at ng mamamayan ng babasahin na mahalaga o relevant sa kanila,” said Francisco. 

This is not the first time that the Gawad Dangal ng Wika was awarded to a Lasallian professor. In 2020, KWF also recognized Dr. Lakandupil Garcia, a faculty member of the University’s Languages and Literature Department (LLD), for his significant contributions in the Filipino language. 

As per Francisco, the organization considered several aspects in giving the award, which includes the number of published works in Filipino, speaking engagements, Filipino-written research, membership in different organizations, external networks, and even the 40-year old age requirement for nominees. 

When asked about the nomination and screening process, Francisco said he was nominated by the LLD Chair Mark Ignacio in June, and received the notification from KWF on October 18. According to him, the announcement was supposedly scheduled in August but was pushed back due to the volume of nominees that KWF received. 

Meanwhile, the physical awarding ceremony is scheduled on November 9, which will be streamed live via the organization’s Facebook page and the state-run PTV4 network. 

Utilizing Philippine languages

Given his recognized contributions in the Philippine languages and culture, the Gawad Dangal ng Wika 2021 awardee then shared how students can help in further cultivating the language. To this end, Francisco urged the student community to write and publish stories for the masses, especially in the form of Filipino. 

Napakahalagang nagsusulat tayo ng mga sulating magbibigay ng kamulatan o magbibigay ng katotohanan sa mga mambabasa. I think if we continue writing stories relevant to the Filipino people and you write it in the language that masses could understand, maililipat natin ‘yung karunungan sa nakakaraming bilang ng tao,” the professor emphasized.

With his 20 years of experience in teaching Filipino courses, Francisco has published several works written in Filipino in hopes of making it more understandable to the greater number of people. Among his notable work was a dictionary defining the terminologies that surfaced during the pandemic titled “COVID-ictionary: Mga Naghaharing Leksikon sa Panahon ng COVID-19,”  in 2020 amid the height of community lockdowns. 

Gusto ko yung isusulat kong diksyonaryo ay maabot lahat ng antas ng tao sa lipunan, mayaman o yung mahirap o yung mahirap pa sa pinakamahihirap na tao, maiintindihan nila,” he noted.

Aside from sharing how individuals can utilize the language in writing relevant stories, the professor also touched on the importance of the Filipino language in molding the current social conditions, especially with Halalan 2022 drawing near.

Speaking from the perspective of a language professional, Francisco stressed how Philippine languages can be instrumental for the upcoming polls, by utilizing national and local languages and dialects during the course of the elections. 

“I would say to use the Philippine languages, not just the Filipino language. […] For you to be able to win the hearts of the Filipino people, you should speak their language. You should walk with them through their cultural backgrounds,” said Francisco. 

Future plans

Now that his contributions on the Filipino language are gaining nods from national award giving bodies, Francisco vowed to continue writing books and research that will highlight the Filipino language and culture. 

When asked about plans on his COVID-19 dictionary, Francisco said he continues to list down the terms that continuously arise amid the pandemic for new entries, considering the dynamic nature of language. 

“Through writing, we can transform people and society,” Francisco noted.

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