Conrado & Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation, Inc. (CLAFI) presented the Flalok Project to Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor M. Briones during her visit to General Santos City on 13 June 2017.
Mr. Richlie Lyndon L. Magtulis, Executive Director of CLAFI, showed the Big Books, Teacher Guides, and Learner Materials produced through the Flalok Project. These books were also distributed to Blaan schools in South Central Mindanao for use in their Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) classes.
In his presentation, Mr. Magtulis also mentioned the commitment of the public and private sectors to provide funds for the printing of additional Flalok materials. “The Local Governments of Malungon, General Santos & South Cotabato and private sectors Sagittarius Mines, Inc. and Sarangani Energy Corporation pledged provision of financial assistance to print more copies of Flalok Big Books to benefit more Blaan pupils, teachers, and schools.”
In her response, Sec. Briones said the Flalok experience should be shared. She said the challenge is how to continue implementing a project similar to the Flalok Project, considering the Indigenous Peoples who need to learn to read and write in their own language.
The Flalok Project is a unique effort to include the Blaan language as one of the official mother tongues of the DepEd, following the MTB-MLE theory that the lingua franca at home should be the instructional material in classes.
“We have to have more CLAFI, USAID, and private sectors who truly care for those who are ignored,” stressed Sec. Briones. She noted that in the public sector, there are about a 22 million learners and 44,000 educational institutions.
“The value of the Flalok experience is not only on the value of learners that it has reached or the books produced with such great effort but also sharing the experience with those who are in the position to help. At the end of the day, when things are complex, then we have our own self-interest also to think about. Maybe such experience can be shared,” Sec. Briones said.
The Flalok Project, which commenced in 2015 and is now on its final stretch, produced TG, LM and more than 6,000 Big Books distributed to 76 Blaan schools in South Cotabato, Sarangani, General Santos and Koronadal City. The materials are now used in Flalok classes of Grade 1 and Grade 2 pupils in a bid to teach these Blaan kids to read and write in their own language. Ultimately, the Flalok Project seeks to include the Blaan language as DepEd’s official mother tongue.