THE House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill seeking to promote Philippine indigenous or traditional writing systems and providing for their protection, preservation and conservation.
Principally authored by Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, House Bill (HB) No. 8785 declares the need to promote, protect, preserve, and conserve the country’s indigenous or traditional writing systems, using these as tools for cultural development and to create a consciousness of and respect and pride for the legacies of Filipino cultural heritage and authentic identity.
To generate greater awareness of indigenous or traditional scripts of the Philippines and foster wider appreciation of their importance and beauty, the promotion of the traditional writing systems shall be recognized as part of the country’s cultural treasures and protected and promoted.
Their promotion shall be done by mandating the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to include the traditional writing systems in relevant subjects of the basic and higher education curricula, and create an elective or specialized course in higher education about the traditional writing systems.
Likewise, activities promoting awareness of traditional writing systems during Buwan ng Wika and other similar occasions and events shall be created and supported.
Seminars, conferences, conventions, symposia and other relevant activities on the study of traditional writing systems shall be conducted, taking into consideration the writing system that is indigenous to a particular region. Lastly, the proper record-keeping of relevant documents and preservation of oral evidence on the writing systems shall be ensured.
The bill mandates the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to be the lead agency in promulgating policy guidelines in the promotion of the writing systems.
The NCCA shall coordinate with the DepEd, CHED, and other relevant agencies for the proper implementation of the proposed Act once it becomes a law.
Other authors of the bill are Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, Reps. Gary Alejano, Manuel Jose Dalipe, Ramon “Red” Durano, Juliet Marie Ferrer, Gabriel Bordado, Jr., France Castro, Salvio Fortuno, Julieta Cortuna, Gus Tambunting, John Marvin Nieto, Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo, Micaela Violago, Mercedes Cagas, Glona Labadlabad, Ron Salo, Antonio Tinio, Virgilio Lacson, Lucy Torres-Gomez, Ann Hofer, Ciriaco Calalang (deceased), Cristal Bagatsing, Mark Go, and Salvador Belaro, Jr., among others.