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PIA Press Release
2007/09/14

UPV-CWP alumni reap Gawad Komisyon honors

by Neil D. Lopido

TACLOBAN CITY (September 14) -- Two of the alumni of the UPV Creative Writing Program, Voltaire Oyzon and Dominador Pagliawan, won first prize and third prize, respectively, for this year's Gawad Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino Patimpalak sa Panulat, Waray poetry category where the awarding ceremony was held last August 31, 2007 at the Bayview Park Hotel, Manila.

This was bared by no less than Voltaire Oyzon whose winning entry was An Maupay ha mga Waray ug Iba pa nga Siday while Mr. Pagliawan's was Pamasyada ha Cebu Oyzon with the theme, "Maraming Wika, Matatag na Bansa."

For decades, Oyzon said, Filipinos have become used to the idea of "Isang Bansa, Isang Wika," but recent studies have emerged, pointing to its political incorrectness. Acknowledging the significance of other languages, the contest opportunely opens writing about the diversity of language, culture and ethnic identity.

"I chose to write in my beloved Waray language because I simply cannot afford to forget. Forgetting is a form of death. I cannot afford my language to die. If the Waray language dies, it is tantamount to saying that the Waray people never existed at all," Mr. Oyzon said.

In line with the Buwan ng Wika celebration, he said, the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF) laid down its project, the Gawad Komisyon 2007, which supports the state policy of promoting the right of citizens to affordable quality education and the enrichment of country's historical and cultural heritage based on Republic Act 7722 or the "Higher Education Act of 1994."

Oyzon further disclosed that Prof. Merlie Alunan, the program director of the UPV-CWP and a six-time Palanca awardee, placed second in the Gawad Komisyon 2007 for poetry in Cebuano with her entry Witik-witik sa Hangin ug Ubang Balak.

Established as a grand proposal by Prof. Alunan in 2000 during UPV Chancellor Ida Siason's term, the UPV Creative Writing Center has for seven years now spurred the growth of literature in the Visayan languages, pushing these languages from the margins into the mainstream consciousness of the Filipinos, he said.

The creative writing workshops provide a venue for Visayan literary artists to write in the local language and encourage study on the southern literary tradition, hence making UPV a center of excellence in the area of culture and the languages, and ultimately contributing to national cultural development.

Mr. Oyzon asserted, "I will continue writing in my beloved Waray because it is my only connection with the past and the future. Waray identity, or any cultural identity for that matter, is a summation of all its people's memory. For language is a repository of a people's memory. And it is only through memory that the past, the present and the future can be together. Forgetting in the form of neglect fragments the national memory. Loss of our national memory is fragmentation of our country. A lost memory lasts forever. I chose to write in my beloved Waray and will continue writing in my beloved Waray for I cannot afford to forget." (PIA-8/UPV-CWP) [top]

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