AUGUST of every year has been declared as Buwan ng Wika or the National Language Month pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1041. Among the objectives of this month-long celebration is to encourage the Filipino people to value their language by taking part in different activities particularly those that tend to increase language and civic awareness.
Responding to the call of its Grand Master Juanito Espino Jr., the joint Masonic Districts of RX-A and RX-B of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, in cooperation with the Division of City Schools of the Department of Education (DepEd) 10, will conduct an inter-high school competition dubbed as Timpalak sa Balagtasan 2013 on August 26 starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Mindanao University of Science and Technology (MUST) AVR.
Balagtasan is a form of debate using poetic Filipino verses. It was named after the greatest Filipino literary laureate Francisco Balagtas whose defining work Florante at Laura was considered one of the most influential poems written in Tagalog.
During a briefing held last August 17 at the Buffalo Grill and Restobar, coaches coming from the different high schools in the city have agreed on the criteria for judging including the theme which is Wika at Kultura sa Makabagong Panahon. Eleven high schools have confirmed their participation by each fielding a team of three contestants.
Nixon Baban, the Mason’s Junior Grand Lecturer for Mindanao and co-currently project coordinator, announced that the prizes are as follows: trophies and cash prizes of P3,000, P2,400 and P1,500 for the top three teams including medals and certificates for each of the contestants; P1,000 for the coach of the champion team and P 500 each for the runners-up. The Mason’s Choice of Best Debater will also receive a cash prize and a gold medal. Baban said, “The Masons are particularly involved in this activity as its past Grand Master Manuel L. Quezon is also known to be the father of our national language.”
The board of judges have been carefully selected through the office of DepEd Division Supervisor for Filipino, Pepa Pontillas. They will be presented during the competition proper. All other high schools who wish to participate can still signify through Pontillas not later than August 21.
Confirmed participants are Puerto National High School, East Gusa National High School, Bulua National High School, Kauswagan National High School, Lapasan National High School, Balulang National High School, Carmen National High School, Pedro “Oloy” N. Roa National High School, Cagayan de Oro National High School, Camaman-an National High School and Puntod National High School.
Awaiting confirmation are Xavier University High School, St. Mary’s School, Liceo de Cagayan University Basic Education Department, CUBE, Kong Hua School, Pilgrim Christian College, Oro Christian School, Montessori de Oro and Sacred Heart of Jesus Montessori School.