Notice how, during election season, many politicians are speaking in Tagalog. Right there is a form of epal not too many “activists” shriek about. Many of them, specially those who are second- or third- generation politicians grew up in English-speaking households and environments and went to schools known for the impeccable English-speaking prowess of their products.
It is really quite a laughable sight seeing chi-chi Filipinos who are clearly perfectly comfortable using English speaking in Tagalog in public occasions (during interviews, addressing an audience, etc.). It seems their goal is to come across as makamasa or “pro-poor”. That’s a bit patronising, though. They are assuming poor people don’t speak English.
Expressing a complex concept in Tagalog is truly a painful experience. The Tagalog dialect is so imprecise that it is totally unfit for use for topics that demand precision — where, for example, the differences between “detergent” and “soap” are too important to lump those two concepts together in a nebulous word like sabon which can mean so many different things to Filipinos.
Rather than dumb down one’s comms, we should be encouraging the masses to step up and communicate in the language of winners. Encourage Filipinos to speak English. For their own good. Speaking in Tagalog to appear virtuous is the worst form of disservice to the Filipino masses a “thought leader” could deliver.