Looking for Baybayin food label translators

“Looking for Baybayin food label translators, urgent!”

This is something that Philippine food manufacturers may soon be posting on job boards. It looks like that House Bill 4395 may actually pass. A press release was posted on the Philippine Congress website:

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.

While I do believe this is a huge step forward, there are some details that need to be talked about as I mentioned in a post last year.

1) No standardization
2) What is the government cost to roll-out?
3) How will this affect businesses in an already bleeding cash?
4) Is the script name too Tagalog-centric?
5) What about other living scripts like the Mangyan, Palawaan or Kapampangan?
6) Who will teach the teachers?
7) Who will create the educational materials?
8) Who will coordinate all of this?

Some of my questions have been answered since then and if your active in the Baybayin community, then you pretty much know who be leading #’s 6, 7 & 8.

I can already see detractors complaining on the internet….

“Nobody can ready it”
“Waste of time & money”

I’m all for the preservation of culture but I believe this has greater economic potential that will ultimately lead to the preservation of the script. There’s hardly (if any) mention about the possible economic benefits of this bill.

I don’t know much about Philippine politics but does press release assume that the bill will be passed?