MANILA - Amid a proliferation of foreign-language signs, ancient script Baybayin is set to take the spotlight on world-renowned beach paradise Boracay.
Local officials of Malay, Aklan has taken action to revive the Philippine pre-hispanic writing system, requiring the use of Baybayin as the "main text" for signages on business establishments and government offices on the island.
Through Executive Order No. 10, the local government of Malay, which has jurisdiction over the island, mandated the use of Baybayin for signages as part of its "tropical design" guidelines.
"Main text must be written in Baybayin (with English subtitle and other languages, as the case may be)," read the order dated March 19, 2019 and recently signed by Acting Malay Mayor Abram Sualog.
It called for immediate compliance of government offices and school buildings, and urged commercial establishments such as stores, eateries and restaurants to conform.
"Government structures like schools municipal halls, barangay halls, health care centers and other public structures and public spaces shall be the first to comply with this signage guide and be followed by private establishments and structures," it read.
The issuance of EO No. 10 came after photos showing establishments in Boracay with signs written only in foreign languages went viral, drawing flak from Filipinos online.
"With Chinese signages proliferating in Boracay and other foreign signage, it will be contained now because the committee will ensure that the Filipino alphabet or words should be read by the tourists," Alfredo Orolfo, Deputy Ground Commander of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' (DENR) Task Force Boracay, told ABS-CBN News in an interview.
"We are not removing the foreign words, but since we are in the Philippines, foreign words should not be prominent in our signs. Right now, we are becoming foreigners in our land because we cannot even read what the name of the establishment is, we cannot even read what products they sell there."
The guidelines also said the size of all signages "must conform with design standards from the National Building Code and local ordinances."
It also barred the use of tarpaulins and other temporary signages on the island.
Boracay's new guidelines mandates design standards for existing structures and new development on the island, such as the use of wood, bamboo and other natural materials for structures and earth tones for interior and exterior paint.
The guidelines were issued a few months after the reopening of the island paradise in October. It was shut down for six months last year for rehabilitation, after President Rodrigo Duterte sounded the alarm on environment degradation and overdevelopment on the island.
-- with a report from Ivy Jean Vibar, ABS-CBN News