By Cheryl A. Galili
IN A short span of time, after approving the Cuyunon Ordinance, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) is leading by example by implementing it for the first time during its 44th regular session last week.
In a privilege speech, Board member Gil P. Acosta said he is happy that the Cuyunon ordinance is now being implemented in the province. He disclosed that with board member Leoncio Ola, a resolution has already been passed by the SP and will be sent to Department of Education (DepEd) Sec. Jesli Lapuz for integration in primary school curriculum in the province to preserve Cuyunon culture, arts, history and traditions, including the language.
Section 14 of Article XIV of the ordinance provides that the State shall foster the preservation, enrichment and the dynamic evolution of the Filipino national culture based on the principle of unity un diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression.
It further stated that the intention of the ordinance is pursuant to Section 6 of the Provincial Administrative Code of Palawan (Provincial Ordinance N0. 269-A, Series of 1997) that elevated Cuyunon as the official “provincial dialect,” which means the province is mandated to take up the promotion of the Cuyunon dialect and adopt measures for its wider knowledge and its more prevalent use in Palawan, including familiarity with its indigenous literature through the widest possible means of dissemination.
In his speech, Vice-Governor David A. Ponce de Leon mentioned that the primary concern of the SP in enacting the ordinance is to recognize the Cuyunon culture of Palawan and not as a favor to the Cuyunons and not because other dialects will be set aside.
The Cuyunon, he said, greatly forms part of the history, culture and traditions of the province, and therefore, must not be neglected and ignored. He reminded Cuyunons in the session hall about the bravery of a Cuyunon man during the Spanish colonization in the person of Icasiano Padon, who declared the Republic of Lucbuan, a barangay in the municipality of Cuyo.
In Lucbuan, Padon had said that the only people who will be recognized are the Cuyunons, not the Spaniards or the Americans. He declared the Republic of Lucbuan before General Emilio Aguinaldo even declared the Philippine Republic in Kawit, Cavite.
He also talked about the courage of a Cuyunon woman named Silveria Anota, who showed heroism in saving others when pirates attacked the port of Cuyo.
“Malalim ang kaugnayan ng Cuyunon sa kasaysayan ng Palawan kaya’t hindi ito dapat mawala (The relationship of the Cuyunon in Palawan’s history is very profound and meaningful, that’s why we should not lose it),” he said.
Non-Cuyonon speakers, such as board members Vicky de Guzman, Alice Fabellon and Evelyn Rodriguez, showed interest in wanting to learn how to speak the language.“I find it very matinlo (beautiful),” De Guzman said.
The SP will hold sessions in Cuyunon every first Tuesday of the month.