upholding MSC’s academic freedom in the conduct of research endeavors

Background/Context (Situationer)

It was during the inaugural meeting of the centennial committee when the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Committee for Tourism scheduled a hearing for the use of Marindukanon as an academic term, Dr. Randy Nobleza from Marinduque State College Sentro ng Wika at Kultura (SWK) was invited as resource person. The former Boac Sangguniang Bayan councilor Rolly Laracas and Marinduque Rising blogger Eli Obligacion were also around to be heard along with the provincial tourism officer Gerry Jamilla. The MSC SWK Director showed a primer of Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) regional arm’s accomplishments and some future activities for the centennial of the province. He then presented some Board and SP resolutions adopting Marindukanon for research and advocacy. In support, the MSC SWK Director also showed to the said committee some  programs, abstracts, publications which also made use of the term.


After the committee hearing, there was a report and SP resolution urging the MSC president and the Board of Trustees for prudent use of the term Marindukanon. The MSC SWK Director sought the advise of his immediate supervisors, mentors, peers and students about the matter. Likewise, he also asked the appropriate cultural agency for their opinion and appraisal. KWF brought it up while the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) National Committee for Language and Translation also talked about it. Both did not deem it necessary to come up with any opinion in writing.


Not until the 4thquarter Board of Trustees meeting, when the same committee of the Sangguniang Panlalagiwan furnished a copy of their resolution to cease and desist the use of Marindukanon term. Hence, it is incumbent upon the MSC community to put the matter in order. During the 1stquarter Administrative Council meeting some MSC officials pitched in their thoughts and sentiments.


According to the MSC SWK Director, Marindukanon is a coined-term in 2000s based on the research of Dr. Rex Asuncion and with the support of the then MSC president Dr. Romulo Malvar. Moreover, Marindukanon as operationally defined, as a gender-neutral term for male and female inhabitants of the island-province rather using Marinduqueño or Marinduqueña. Likewise, Marindukanon is a demonym for both Marinduque Tagalog East and Marinduque Tagalog West. Finally, Marindukanon is a collective term for practices, beliefs and lifeways of the folks from Marinduque.


  1. Culture and Arts research project prior to 2007

The use of Marindukanon is not totally new or novel. It started as an offshoot of the indigenous and local studies of the previous Director of the Culture and Arts. The said unit was under the Research and Extension. There is a mandate for Culture and Arts Studies as approved by the MSC Board of Trustees. But the function was modified when it  was transferred to the Academic Affairs department.  When the SWK Director was still a newbie in MSC, he was given the designation of Knowledge and Information Management System Head and consequently Social Development Directorunder the Office of the President. It was an opportunity to situate and put to practical use his knowledge and skills acquired from the University to his own community. He started by 2009-10 an ethnographic research for his Masters degree about development models appropriate to the island-province. The result was the beginnings of Independent and Alternative Media disseminating the research findings to different venues and platforms.


  1. Cultural and arts studies program from 2017 onwards

During the SWK Director’s 7thyear, instead of having a sabbatical, he pursued advanced postgraduate studies. And when he was through,  he integrated some appropriate models for a research/ studies center for Marinduque to be dubbed as Marindukanon Cultural and Arts Studies. In 2017, MSC inked an agreement with KWF to establish a Center for Language and Culture whose function is to consolidate local history, cultural literacy and heritage mapping in the province.  The initial phase of the endeavor is to propose a consolidated Cultural and Arts Studies program with a couple of projects: a multimedia and publication. This is going to be supported by Cultural Mapping and the offering of the Cultural Education. The result would be utilized for particular activities paving the way for creative industries and culture-based economies calibrated for a mining free small-island province.


  • Freedom and responsibility 2020 centennial year

It was trying times, after much deliberation and consultation that there’s a need to justify the use of  a term. To this end, the use of Marindukanon is a worthy cause to defend and assume full accountability for. It is a consequence of continuous academic research, relentless fieldwork, taxing coordination with cultural agencies and other stakeholders. Most especially, in the context of Marinduque’s 100 years of re-establishment as an independent province, it is imperative to draw the line. The MSC community is cognizant of possible negative reaction or backlash, nevertheless there is a need to protect academic freedom which enables to create and innovate. This is the primordial function of any academic institution, to nourish the same freedom to be responsive and responsible to the community. There’s nothing wrong with synonyms, having different words to express the same meaning. There’s no shame for being too regionalistic or Visayan, Marinduque hosts indigenous communities and migrants from the central islands. Historians and academics of the old never used Marindukanon, but language in culture is dynamic, constantly-evolving and never static. The use of nomenclature or nuanced language adds to the revitalization and diversity of endangered and indigenous languages.


  1. Civil Society for creative industries and culture-based economies

This is beyond Marindukanon or the academic field, the world is much bigger and flatter. There are more important matters, pressing issues and impending concerns but MSC owes it to Marinduque to provide alternatives and openness rather restrictions or regulations. MSC is one with the dream of becoming one island-community with sustainable food resources, island life and heritage tourism. MSC community can only do so much, in the end it begins with dreams and building it with the help of the community which it serves until becomes material for everybody to share and partake in. MSC is committed to continue and go on until its full fruition of creative industries and culture-based economies for Marinduque as long as its academic ifreedoms not curtailed. MSC shall endure and only the future coulc tell who’s on the right side of history.