Saturday, April 27, 2013

An Open Letter to U.P. President Alfredo E. Pascual

An open letter to UP President Alfredo E. Pascual

Dear Sir:

The baybayin characters on the Sablay of our graduates read as “upa”. This would connote that the iskolars ng bayan are for HIRE upon their graduation, when they are suppose to prioritize service to the nation. Baybayan characters are not the same as our Abakada alphabet where each letter is a basic sound or phoneme, either a vowel or a consonant. In baybayin, which is a syllabic writing system, each character is already a syllable. It seems that there was no in-depth study in using baybayin characters on emblems. Somebody just thought to translate the English letters “U” and “P” to the Pilipino abakada “U” and “Pa” and then to the baybayin characters of syllables “U” and “Pa”. This was reverse engineering at its worst and without any historical basis whatsoever, most definitely not worthy of a UP scholar.

In the military, we revere symbols, especially those made with the blood of our heroes. A well-known usage of the baybayin characters is that found in the flags and emblems of the Katipunan in the 1890s, which bear the baybayin script Ka Ka Ka the acronym for Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galang Katipunan. They DO NOT stand for the first letter “K” but for the first Syllable “Ka” of the three words. We are often confused into thinking that the symbol is the same as the letter “Ka” in our Abakada. The Abakada is an indigenized Latin alphabet of the Tagalog language, created by Lope K. Santos in 1940. During the Philippine Revolution against Spain, THERE WAS NO Pilipino alphabet then and the baybayin character “Ka” stands for the FIRST SYLLABLE of Katipunan. Therefore, to “abbreviate” words using baybayin, the character of the first syllable of the word is used.

The baybayin characters on the Sablay are the acronym for Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. The first syllable of “Unibersidad’ and the baybayin script for “U” on the Sablay is correct. The first syllable for “Pilipinas” is “pi” but in the Sablay the character there is for “pa”. A tuldik must be placed on the “pa” character to change it to “pi”.

Since 1990, when the Sablay was first used, we have been parading our graduates for the world to see, carrying the word “UPa”, a tagalog word for “Hire”. Sadly, this does not speak well of UP.

Eliseo M. Rio Jr. (UP Vanguard ’65)

1 comment:

  1. Hi! According to the Handbook on Protocol of the University, the baybayin script incorporated into the Sablay is still read as UP, and not read according to the baybayin script.