With the upsurge of Latin American tourists and investors in Asia, Sen. Edgardo Angara yesterday highlighted the need to incorporate Spanish language courses in the secondary school curriculum to prepare students for a possible career in tourism and other related industries.
At the 10th Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day celebration at the National Historical Commission in Manila, Angara said that he would incorporate Spanish language subjects in a measure that would become the enabling law of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) K+12 program.
“The move would not only strengthen bilateral and economic ties with Spain, the Philippine’s major colonizer, but would also put the country’s Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, “supposedly the largest growing sector” of the Philippine economy, at an advantage.
“That’s how valuable this language is in these modern times. As I’ve said, the trend of investment and tourism is now towards Asia,” Angara told reporters in an interview.
Spain’s Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Domecq said Spain is supporting the DepEd’s efforts to include Spanish language units in secondary schools in the Philippines.
“That is because we share a common history,” said Domecq adding that Spain’s initiatives to train more Filipinos in the Spanish language is continuous through Instituto Cervantes’, Spain’s premier Spanish language institution based in Manila.
Almost 100 public school teachers have studied intensive Spanish language training at Instituto Cervantes following the reintroduction of the Spanish language as an elective in high school in 2009.
This was made possible by an existing agreement between DepEd and the University of Alcala in Spain. An academic exchange agreement with universities in Madrid and the Basque Country was also put in place.
Angara said he wants the Spanish language to be re-introduced once the K+12 program adds Grades 11 and 12 in 2016.
Because the country’s economy would be the biggest beneficiaries of the Spanish language programs, Angara said “the next generation should be taught the language” to prepare them in the continuing rise of Latin American tourists and business in the Asian region.
“Latin Americans are now going to Asia as tourists and investors. They are spending a lot in Asian countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, etc,” Angara pointed out.
“We are the natural destination. Bakit ang mga tourists ng Mexico and Argentina mas gusto nilang magpunta sa Bangkok, sa Cambodia, dib a?” he said.
By HANNAH L. TORREGOZA