Online petition urges recall of ‘error-ridden’ Ilocano books

LAOAG CITY — An online petition was launched urging the recall of alleged error-ridden books for use in the Ilokano Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) of the Department of Education’s K-12 program.

Since 2014, there have been numerous criticisms about these error-ridden books, which are being sold in local and national book stores and in various schools in Ilokano-speaking provinces.

Joel Manuel, principal of the Bangui National High School and president of the Gunglo Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano (GUMIL) Ilocos Norte Chapter, led the launching of the online petition addressed to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones on Sunday evening.

Their alliance is called the Committee for the Protection of the Ilokano Language and the Ilokano MTB-MLE.

In its description, the petition said “the widespread use of sick books, defined in this petition as unsound in substance and erroneous in grammatical quality, in pre-school and Grades 1 to 3, has caused problems in the quality of education of these Ilokano educatees.”

It further stated “the ‘sick books,’ produced both by the government’s arm tasked to prepare these instructional materials and by the private sector, do not conform to the commonly or widely accepted standards of the Ilokano language.”

“These ‘sick books’ also lack the substance that guarantee the equipping of the Ilokano educatees of the needed skills, values, knowledge and attitudes they need to transition to the higher grades and to be prepared for life-long learning,” the petition said.

Manuel, who is also a book author, said “we deserved something better than these error-laden books,” citing several examples of Math and basic learning books with wrong translation and illustrations.

“These ‘sick books’ do not do justice to the need to reflect the ethos, life and values of the various Ilokano communities in the Philippines and elsewhere as required in a fair and emancipatory culture-based education,” he said in the petition.

A number of Ilokano language stakeholders have also used social media to voice their disgust at the error-ridden books.

“The books are harmful for the learners, full of errors and the authors did not even consult Ilocanos who have the command and education of the language,” said Rev. Father Joel Raymundo of Naguilian, Isabela.

Ej Eereno, an Ilokano teacher and Ilokano language major from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, believed that “it’s important to set a strong foundation for our students and it starts with quality materials that are overseen by the experts who have been studying and using the language for decades if not their whole life.”

“Everybody deserves decent education. Stop bastardizing the Ilokano language,” said Rowena Badiang of Bangued, Abra province. LGA/