Do you know how to write Baybayin? The House of Representatives has just approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 10657 or the “Philippine Indigenous and Traditional Writing Systems Act.” which seeks to promote, protect and preserve BAYBAYIN, an ancient Filipino syllabary script together with other indigenous and traditional writing systems as part of the country’s cultural treasures.

Baybayin is said to be one of at least 16 different writing systems that were used by early Filipinos prior to the Spanish era.

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Under the bill, the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) are mandated to include indigenous and traditional writing systems in relevant subjects of basic and higher education curricula, and to create an elective or specialized course in higher education for the study of the same.

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The measure seeks to create or support activities that promote awareness of these writing systems, particularly during Buwan ng Wika and similar occasions and events.

It also calls for conduct of seminars, conferences, conventions, symposia and other relevant activities on the study of Philippine Indigenous and Traditional Writing Systems, as well as good record-keeping of relevant documents and preservation of oral evidence on these writing systems.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) shall be the lead policymaking unit for the promotion of indigenous and traditional writing systems.

The NCCA is mandated to protect, preserve and conserve these writing systems as National Cultural Treasures, in accordance with Republic Act No. 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009. It shall coordinate with DepEd, CHED and other relevant agencies for the proper implementation of that mandate.

Read House Bill No. 10657 below.

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