It’s time to use PH’s ethnic alphabet Baybayin, says LegardaNovember 26, 2014
A lawmaker has renewed calls to integrate Baybayin—the country’s precolonial alphabet—in government logos, public signage and local product labels.
Senator Loren Legarda, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, urged the promotion of the ancient alphabet during the Baybayin Festival in Rizal.
“Marahil ngayon ay hindi na maunawaan ng karamihan ang kahalagahan ng Baybayin dahil sanay na tayo sa sistema ng pagsusulat na ating nakagisnan. Ngunit kapag binalikan natin ang ating kasaysayan, ang baybayin ang simbolo ng sibilisasyon ng mga sinaunang Pilipino, bago pa man tayo mapasailalim sa pamumuno ng mga dayuhan,” Legarda said in a statement.
Philippines has been widely practicing the English alphabet.
The use of Baybayin was said to have declined when the Spaniards colonized the country, dating back 1521.
Legislative efforts pushed
The senator authored Bill No. 1899, a bill still pending at the Senate, mandating all government agencies, departments and offices to incorporate Baybayin in their official logos.
“The logos and seals of government agencies and offices should not only reflect the emblems of their functions and duties but also pride in Filipino heritage and traditions,” she had said.
Legarda cited a few government agencies—mostly those attached to cultural promotion and preservation—have already incorporated Baybayin in their official logos. They include the National Museum of the Philippines, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, the National Library, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Records Management and Archives Office, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
A separate bill (No. 2440), meanwhile, seeks to declare Baybayin as the National Writing Script of the Philippines. Once approved, the NCCA is to “lead the promotion, protection, preservation and conservation of the Baybayin.”
Baybayin, not ‘alibata’
The Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF) earlier debunked the name ‘alibata’ as the Philippines’ ancient alphabet.
“Kailangan kong ulitin na kolorum ang ‘alibata’ dahil walang gayong alpabeto sa Filipinas at maging sa buong mundo,” KWF chairman Virgilio Almario said in a blog post.
According to Almario, Fr. Pedro Chirino, a Jesuit missionary from Spain, was first to record Baybayin as the country’s ethnic alphabet.
The language myth, however, was probably made up by a teacher who mistook the local alphabet for something inspired by the Arabic alphabet. The confusion continues to prevail in the Philippine education system because even the education textbooks and officials are severely misinformed, Almario lamented.