13th Bantayog-Wika in the Philippines, inaugurated in General Santos City to honor Bláan language

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), in cooperation with the Local Government of General Santos City, Kalimudan Culture and Arts Center, and Mindanao State University-GenSan (MSU), launched the 13th Bantayog-Wika on 27 February 2019, at the Plaza Heneral Santos, General Santos City to acknowledge and honor the Bláan language.

The Bantayog-Wika, which was made by famous sculptor Luis “Junyee” Jr., together with the Office of Sen. Loren Legarda, is a project of KWF which aims to preserve and enrich the indigenous languages of the Philippines through building language markers which mirrors the treasure brought by the languages.

The bamboo-shaped bantayog was made from stainless steel and stood 10-foot tall. Engraved on its body is the baybayin version of “Pagi-ibig sa Tinubuang Bayan” by Andres Bonifacio. At night, visitors will see the text illuminated from where it stood.

Among the attendees of the said program were Hon. Ronnel C. Rivera, mayor of city; Hon. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles, the vice-mayor; Hon. Shandee Theresa Llido-Pestaño, city councilor and head for the Committee for Culture and the Arts; Dr. Debbie M. Cruspero, director for the Center Language and the Arts in MSU-GenSan; other officials and representatives from Kalimudan Culture and Arts Center, MSU, local government, and KWF Chairperson and National Artist Virgilio S. Almario.

“In accordance with the UNESCO declaration for 2019 as the Year of the Indigenous Languages, Bantayog-Wika is one of KWF’s projects which continuously support and recognizes the indigenous languages of our country,” said Chairperson Almario.

The Bláan language came from Center and South of Mindanao, and is currently being used by almost 450,00 people living in mountain ranges in North Cotabato, Davao, and in the islands of Sarangani. They also live around Buluan Lake, and along the shores of Davao.

The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino was established in pursuant to Republic Act No. 7104 to promote research, development, and preservation of the Filipino language and other indigenous languages of the Philippines.

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