By Leonel Abasola

File photo

MANILA – Filipino students can draw inspiration from national hero Jose P. Rizal, who developed a passion to learn foreign languages, according to a resolution filed by House of Representatives Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan.

Libanan’s House Resolution No. 910 urges the Department of Education (DepEd), which is currently conducting a review of the K-12 program, to integrate foreign language studies, other than English, in the school curriculum.

“Our school system by tradition has been teaching Filipino children to emulate and aspire to be like Rizal. We might as well encourage them to study foreign languages, just like Rizal,” the 4Ps Party-list representative said in a news release on Sunday.

Owing to his fascination with foreign languages, Rizal became conversant in Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish and Swedish.

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, in her 2023 Basic Education Report, declared that DepEd intends to revise and improve the K-12 program, with the view to developing lifelong learners who are competent and job-ready.

In his resolution, Libanan said “the whole world has become a global village with multilingual labor markets, thus creating a strong demand for workers with foreign language skills.”

He said exposing young learners to foreign languages “will vastly improve their employability in the global labor markets of the 21st century.”

Global corporations based in the United States, China and Japan – the world’s three largest economies – have been known to prefer hiring staff who can speak a second foreign language besides English, Libanan pointed out.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Philippines deployed 2,150,000 workers to overseas labor markets in 2019, or an average of 5,890 every day, according to the Department of Migrant Workers.

The number of Filipino workers deployed abroad has since dropped to less than one million yearly.

Despite the deployment slump, the World Bank estimates that the Philippines received up to USD38 billion (PHP2.12 billion) in cash remittances from all channels in 2022, making the country the world’s fourth-largest recipient of money from overseas workers, after India, Mexico and China. (PNA)