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The National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) launched its new platform in disseminating policy information to the community, a talk show titled “May Magandang Bukas mula sa Pagtuklas” which was streamed via Zoom and Facebook Live on February 23, 2022 from 9:00am to 10:00am.

The debut episode of the NRCP talk show featured the study on Language Preservation and Documentation of Hanunuo: Saving the Mangyan Culture conducted by Dr. Rochelle Irene Lucas, an NRCP member of Division of Governmental, Educational, and International Policies.  Dr. Lucas is a Professor of the De La Salle University.

Dr. Jennifer Pia Sibug-Las, the Oversight Commissioner of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples' (NCIP) Office on Education, Culture, and Health, Dr. Rene Louis Marquez Bonifacio of Central Mindanao University, and Dr. Carolina Diamante, Curatorial Consultant of the Oriental Mindoro Heritage Museum were among the guests on the NRCP's webcast where they provided a comprehensive context on this study.

This exciting talk show was hosted by NRCP Executive Director Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay, who introduced the telecast and acted as segment host.2

Dr. Irene Lucas, the researcher, opened the conversation by sharing the basic information regarding her project and what inspired her to conduct this type of research.

Likewise, Dr. Lucas shared her story on coming up with this study since their school or university already had an adopted indigenous community in Oriental Mindoro. During their discussion and pre-survey in the community, they found out that the use of the Hanunuo context which is called “Surat Mangyan” on writing is now declining in the community that even the younger generation do not know how to write it.

Dr. Lucas emphasized the fact that a writing system needs to be accessible, visible, and functional if it is to survive.3

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In order to for this language to survive, the team of Dr. Lucas developed the Mangyan dictionary app which can be downloaded in Google Play Store. In this app is the 954 entries of Mangyan words with Mangyan definitions, parts of speech, their English and Tagalog translations and their written script. Meanwhile, recommended by their team, the Surat Mangyan must be incorporated into the life of the community, for example in town hall meetings, in celebrating their traditional practices and crafting of local ordinances that have an impact on the lives of the Hanunoo Mangyan communities.

Dr. Lucas gladly announced that they are willing to share the technical expertise and the software they developed in the production of e-dictionary applications with other IP languages.

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The talk show proceeded as Commissioner Sibug-Las showed her support for the development of this type of technology. Dr. Bonifacio also showed his interest in the app and how this could help them in developing the 7 remaining indigenous languages they have been working on at Central Mindanao University. Dr. Diamante, curator of the Oriental Mindoro Heritage Museum, expressed her gratitude for having the dictionary placed in their museum where many visitors are welcomed the e-dictionary technology. Accordingly, different schools in the province visited the museum to experience the exciting feeling of discovering new knowledge, and most of all, to use the app.

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The segment ended with Dr. Lucas’ announcement that the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 74135, year 2022-2032 will be the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, to draw the attention of the world on the critical situation and state of our indigenous languages.10

This telecast was participated by 206 participants (73.3% female and 26.7% male) from different institutions.11

(Jenny Leigh A. Daquioag and Phoebe Ann Hadaza Villasanta, DOST-NRCP)