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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Baybayin script to be included in labels of consumer products
Writer: Jazmin S. Camero, MRS-PRIB
15 April 2012 08:20:45 AM

Food manufacturers will soon be required to translate the content of the labels of its consumer products to Baybayin or Alibata, an ancient syllabary script of the early Filipinos.

Under House Bill 4395, authored principally by Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan), Baybayin shall be promoted by inscribing it in all products locally produced or processed food products.

Bataoil defended his bill during the recent public hearing of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture chaired by Rep. Salvador Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon).

Present during the hearing are Reps. Mariano Piamonte, Jr. (Party List, A Teacher), Antonio Tinio (Party List, ACT TEACHERS), Mel Senen Sarmiento (1st District, Western Samar), Monique Yazmin Lagdameo (1st District, Makati), Eduardo Gullas (1st District, Cebu) and Mohammed Hussein Pangandaman (1st District, Lanao de Sur).

Bataoil said there is urgent need to institutionalize the protection and conservation of Baybayin script, a writing system well known and practiced in the land long before the Spaniards introduced the Latin-Roman scripts that is popularly being used today.

"I believe this piece of legislation shall serve as a starting point towards establishing our national identity and a unifying element for us Filipinos," Bataoil said. "We owe it to our children and the generations to come to establish an identity uniquely Filipino."

Citing the claims of foreign anthropologists and sociologists, Bataoil said Baybayin script is in danger of becoming extinct because of globalization.

"A new wave of nationalism must rise for the development of the nation. It is time that we reclaim a national heritage that is threatened by the rapidly changing time," Bataoil said.

"While Japan has its own scripts, Kanji and Hiragana, China has the Han character, the Koreans, their Hangul, the Philippines has also its own script called Baybayin," Bataoil said.

"We have our own writing script, uniquely Filipino that even our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal used Baybayin script in his book, Noli me Tangere, and other writings," Bataoil said.

During the hearing, Jay Enage, founding Chairman of Baybayin Buhayin, said there is a need to legislate a law recognizing Baybayin as the national script before it disappears and be totally forgotten.

"Baybayin is being used only in some areas of Mindoro and Palawan provinces. We hope to see Baybayin script in the future in signages of restaurants, government agencies and street names together with Koreans, Japanese, Chinese and Indian scriptures," Enage said.

Under the bill, Baybayin shall also be included in the curriculum of the elementary and secondary schools.