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Senate Measure Filed To Create Linguistic Planning Institute

May 13, 2002
Copyright © 2002
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All Rights Reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Upon approval of a Senate measure, at an initial cost of one million dollars to public funds, the current administration of Sila M. Calderon will create the Linguistic Planning Institute.

Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamora said Monday that the mission of this organization will be to protect and sustain the use of the Spanish language, facilitate and accelerate the learning of English and promote the teaching of other languages such as French and Portuguese.

The Senate leader expressed the hope that Governor Sila M. Calderon will sign the project, in spite of the fact that she had said this is not a priority in her agenda.

He said that on Wednesday they will present a draft of the project to the Governor which will explain the scope of the measure.

"This is a project that is still very much in harmony with what she has expressed…I believe that this is something that will happen and will be identified with the public policy of this administration", said Fas Alzamora.

In spite of the budgetary deficit, Fas Alzamora justified the creation of the Institute at a cost of one million dollars indicating that its nine members will not collect a salary, although they will be paid $75 per member for attending meetings.

"We have identified, in an analysis of the budget, that we still need a month and a half to be able to see the adjustments that will be made by the agencies, and whether have to reduce the one million dollars to a lesser amount which is also a possibility", said Fas Alzamora.

Reverting to Spanish as the only official language of the island is not a programmed commitment that appears in black and white in the government platform of the Popular Democratic Party, known as the "Puerto Rican Project for the 21st Century".

Nevertheless, Fas Alzamora pointed out that this measure, and others that will arise, will be based on recommendations made by the organization in response to a determination by the people prior to his reelection and before to his selection as Senate president.

"The initial priority is keeping our word based on the sentiment of the people... in 1993 we were a minority, I was the spokesman for the popular delegation, and gave my word that if one day we became the majority I would respond to the demands of the people which at that time greatly opposed the imposition of two official languages".

He affirmed that this legislation, was approved by the administration of former Governor Pedro Rossello, which "allowed the abuse" toward people who do not know English, by imposing this language "when 89% of Puerto Ricans do not speak it".

"This continues to be an abuse and an injustice ", emphasized Fas Alzamora.

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