By Ben Rosario
A House committee on basic education and culture has endorsed the approval of a bill that seeks to declare Baybayin as the Philippines’ national writing system.
Authored by Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, House Bill 1022 or the proposed “National Writing System Act” proposes to make Baybayin, an ancient pre-Spanish script of the Philippines, the writing system to generate greater awareness on its presence in Philippine history.
Bataoil said the bill seeks to foster a wider appreciation of its importance and beauty.
The House basic education and culture panel unanimously approved HB 1022 before adjourning for the summer break last month.
The bill received the support of the Department of Education (DepEd), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the advocacy group Baybayin, Buhayin.
HB 1022 shall require all manufacturers of locally produced processed food products to inscribe Baybayin scripts and their translation on the containers of labels.
It shall also mandate local government units (LGUs) to include the appropriate Baybayin in their signage for street names, public facilities, public buildings, and other necessary signage for other public service establishments like hospitals, fire and police stations, community centers and government halls.
The bill also requires newspaper and magazine publishers to include a Baybayin translation of their name in Baybayin.
Further, the measure shall direct the appropriate government agency to disseminate knowledge and information about Baybayin by distributing reading materials in all levels of public and private educational institutions and government and private agencies and offices.
Bataoil said this shall instill awareness of Baybayin as the national writing system and to conduct staff training for the proper handling of these documents.
The NCCA is tasked to protect, preserve and conserve Baybayin as a National Cultural Treasure.
The NCCA, together with the DepEd, Department of Interior and Local Government, and Commission on Higher Education shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations of the bill.
“The importance of writing in general and of the alphabet in particular for the preservation and progress of civilization is incalculable,” Bataoil said.