House committee OKs Baybayin as national writing system; netizens disapprove

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 24) — The Committee on Basic Education and Culture's approval of House Bill  (HB) 1022, or the "National Writing System Act", which seeks to declare Baybayin as the country's national writing system, elicited negative responses from netizens on Twitter. 

Baybayin is an ancient pre-Spanish script of the Philippines. 

HB 1022, authored by 2nd District Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, seeks to require all local government units to inscribe Baybayin script and their translations on labels of locally produced, processed food, and on the signage of public facilities, street names, public buildings, and public service establishments such as hospitals and government halls.

Publishers will also be required to include Baybayin translations for the names of their newspapers and magazines, while government agencies will be tasked to distribute Baybayin reading materials to all educational institutions, and government and private agencies and offices. 


"The importance of writing in general and of the alphabet in particular for the preservation and progress of civilization is incalculable," Bataoil said in a statement from the House of Representatives Press and Public Affairs Bureau. 

Netizens however, responded negatively to the bill's approval. Posts on Twitter say that the script is "Tagalog-centric" and the imposition of Baybayin therefore neglects the diversity of dialects in the country. 

Twitter user Justine Danielle contended, "What's the point of appreciating one kind of script if it means neglecting all other scripts that our fellow Filipinos try to preserve?" 




Some netizens are worried the inclusion of Baybayin script would only confuse citizens who are not used to speaking in Tagalog. They surmise that the script will only serve an "aesthetic" purpose with no added substantial value to preserving Philippine culture.  

A tweet by Lou Palomar said, "As much as I'd love it for the Philippines to utilize a script system, this Bill mandating Baybayin the "official writing system" is coming off as merely for aesthetics for me" 





The bill was supported by the Department of Education, advocacy group Baybayin, Buhayin, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, who is tasked to preserve Baybayin as a national cultural treasure.