Press Release
June 5, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara is urging Filipinos to capitalize on a unique opportunity to sharpen their competitive edge through the multilingualism inherent in our diverse heritage.

Angara pointed out that nearly 500 million people in the world speak Spanish, making it the second most widely spoken language next only to Chinese and ahead of English.

"If one knows how to speak Spanish, Mandarin and English, he can speak practically to the entire world. Definitely, Spanish will remain one of the major languages of the future," he said during a recent event at the Instituto Cervantes.

Angara was the guest speaker at the graduation of 98 public high school teachers from a summer program for Spanish language teaching at the Instituto Cervantes. The project is a collaboration among the Department of Education, the Spanish Embassy through Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish agency for international cooperation, the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID).

"Spanish has immense value to our life, not only because of our historic ties to Spain, but also because of its implications on the future of the world. Latin America is the next emerging region after Asia. Spanish will be an increasingly valuable tool of communication in trade, tourism, business and politics in the future," Angara explained.

The veteran lawmaker is an advocate of the revival of relations with Spain anchored on long years of shared history. He helped push for the re-inclusion of the Spanish language in the secondary education curriculum.

He also authored the law declaring June 30 of every year as the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day, which has become the premier event promoting our cultural and historic affinity since 2003.

Angara said one of his biggest regrets was not taking full advantage of the opportunity as a student to master Spanish. "Now, because of our renewed relationship with Spain, and the revival of our relations with Mexico and Latin America, Filipino students should be fluent in the language and join the ranks of millions of Spanish speakers in the world.

"But the first step is training our language teachers. This should be a continuing effort until we attain a critical mass of Spanish language teachers in our public and private school systems."

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