MANILA, Philippines - The Spanish language may be included in the country's basic education curriculum starting 2016.
Sen. Edgardo Angara, chair of the Senate education committee, said on Friday he will work to make Spanish a subject for Grades 11 and 12 in the newly-implemented K+12 program.
"In Grades 11 and 12, there are three tracks: arts, sports, and livelihood," he told reporters during a press conference for the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day. "We'll introduce it in the arts track."
Angara explained that learning Spanish aside from English would benefit Filipinos since it is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.
According to Instituto Cervantes Manila, a Spanish education institute, Spanish is the second most studied language in the world after English.
It also has the most number of native speakers in the world after Chinese, said Spain's ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Domecq.
"When you speak Spanish, you speak to almost one-third of the world," Angara said.
Aside from this, Angara said the country would be visited by more tourists from Latin America if more Filipinos knew how to speak and understand Spanish.
Business process outsourcing companies catering to Spanish companies may also tap into the Philippines and further boost the BPO industry, he added.
Since 2003, Angara has been leading the celebration of Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day every June 30--a commemmoration of the surrender of Spanish troops after the Siege of Baler in 1899, where then President Emilio Aguinaldo declared them as friends instead of prisoners.
PH-Spain Friendship Day
Angara said the first few years of the Friendship Day have paved the way for nine economic and cultural agreements between the Philippines and Spain, P9.2 billion worth of investments and grants, and numerous educational opportunities.
In particular, Spain actively helps its former colony in times of calamity, according to Asst. Secretary Elizabeth Buensuceso of the Office of European Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Buensuceso mentioned the "Sendong" disaster in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in December 2011, when Spain was the first foreign diplomatic post to extend assistance.
"The purse and the heart of Spain were there," she said.
Various activites to celebrate Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day are scheduled both in the Philippines and in Spain.
Domecq said Spain's Queen Sofia will also visit the Philippines in July mainly to check on the progress of Spanish government-funded development projects.