Introducing the StinkyFish Podcast. IPO & Philippine Culture of Theft

Here we go again! After calling out the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines in my blog post, it made the rounds of social media and mainstream news.  ABS-CBN, Philstar, When in Manila, thousands of views, netizens comments on the IPOPHL FB page. I myself took part of the fun until I was banned by them 😦 At least I got a rating in. They can’t delete those. So with all that news coverage and comments, they had to make a statement and in typical lawyery fashion, they did and boy was it typical of the cancer that eats at Philippine government.

Here’s the PDF if you want an “official” copy. Apparently you have to release it on PDF to be official. Now let’s breakdown the 2 last points. You can watch the video below for my reaction to the whole thing below…more on that later.

– Baybayin characters are commonly used as in the logos of several government agencies such as the National Museum, National Library, NCCA, AFP and others.

– Baybayin is an ancient script, and no one has the exclusive right to use it.

First of all, so what if Baybayin is used on several government agencies. What is the point? Did they steal their logos from a designer? All their logos are original artwork. How does that justify stealing?

The 2nd point is where I didn’t expect them to go because even a child knows that if they create artwork using ANY writing system, they know it’s their personal creation. It’s also the same language Walker Underwear used to justify stealing my IP (artwork).

They mentioned “ancient” so does that mean that if it wasn’t, it would be OK? What’s their definition of ancient or did they just get that from somewhere else? They forgot that they’re dealing with Baybayin experts. For arguments sake, let’s say that it’s true that nobody can claim IP for Baybayin because it’s an ancient writing system no matter if they designed art based on the characters in illustrator or painted them. Using IPO’s same definition, the roman alphabet is also an ancient script so anything created using it as a base for the artwork cannot be claimed as IP. What does that now say about the logo for Shoe Mart? Is it not protected because nobody has the exclusive rights to the roman alphabet?


Here’s something I created for a Surf Company. The Baybayin says Lakas. Because Baybayin is an ancient script, it’s not my intellectual property and anyone can copy the artwork on the shirt and use it for commercial purposes?


Can people also use the SM logo and make products with it? Hell no! They would protect roman alphabet design to death but since they themselves stole a Baybayin based design, it’s OK for others to do so. Because IPO doesn’t know shit about Baybayin, they treat is differently. They’re basically saying that they will protect the roman alphabet but not Baybayin. How colonial minded can you get? The issue isn’t Baybayin but the artwork created from Baybayin. Get it? prePhilippine script design, typography, art and etc have to be protected the same way the roman alphabet would be. IPO was recently one of the organizers of a jewelry competition. Since nobody owns the rights to precious metals and stones, are their creations not intellectual property? Their logic is extremely flawed.

I do have to thank IPO though for getting me annoyed enough to take action and finally get my new podcast up and running. It’s called Stinky Fish podcast named after my upcoming documentary, Sulat ng Malansang Isda. IPO is definitely a Stinky Fish. Future podcasts will probably be audio only because video takes too long to edit 🙂

Here’s a Dropbox link as mentioned in the video to some of the evidence including concept designs presented, an invitation as a Baybayin resource speaker and timestamps. Want more evidence? Wait for John Leyson to drop the bomb soon.

The sad part as I read though all the hundreds of comments about this issue is that Filipinos aren’t surprised this happened. They’re used to theft, corruption, and being let down.

PS: Ticao Masbate Rizal stone was correct 🙂 My prediction of this Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines issue is that it will go to trial and IPO will win because of corruption.

PSS: The way IPO handled the issue shows how backwards thinking they are. You never delete comments! It shows your weakness and pisses off the people even more. Don’t be anonymous cowards. Sign your stupid PDF statement and let the public know who’s in charge. Also, don’t let your dumb employees comment on the issue praising where she works and giving you a 5 star rating while pretending to be a regular person. Below is a screenshot of Szn Crd defending IPO and rating 5 stars. Thanks to 龍瀧幽歌‎ from Baybayin discussion group on FB. That’s free advice. No charge.


Finally! Alibata may soon be dead….sort of


Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (Commission of Filipino Language) posted this viral image on their educational FB page Wikapedia. Basically, it says that Alibata isn’t true. It was invented by a teacher who thought it came from the Arabs. Baybayin is the native alphabet of the country. The root is Baybay meaning spelling. It’s ours and not borrowed.

There’s a few issues with image:
1) Hindi totoo ang Alibata (Alibata isn’t true) is a bit weird and misleading because it’s vague. What’s not true? Alibata the word or the writing? Why isn’t it true?
2) Bata isn’t the 2nd character. It’s Ba
3) Baybayin isn’t an alphabet but an alphasyllabary (Abugida)
4) Hindi hiniram (not borrowed) is weird wording as well. Baybayin along with most of South East Asian scripts have roots in India. Is that considered borrowed? Are they insinuating that Baybayin was 100% created in the Philippines without any outside influence?

Virgilio S. Almario, of KWF wrote a blog post with additional details (some incorrect) about why it’s not Alibata along with challenges in changing all the textbooks. What was interesting was that he also mentioned that mass media is also a reason why Alibata spread. The root of that is that they learned it in school through incorrect textbooks.

At the end of the day, if it’s called Alibata, Baybayin or Super Pinoy Power Writing, they haven’t provided any value other than a sense of “cultural pride” to students who want to be lawyers, entertainers or call center agents. It unfortunately is all about economics. That’s the challenge for any endangered writing system/language in the so-called Philippines, Indonesia, Malayasia, etc. So what if DeafEd changes Alibata to Baybayin in textbooks? Will there be new surrounding content to give proper historical, cultural and modern context? What is their value proposition other than passing a test, writing the national anthem and feeling good about yourself for a couple days? Rather than sensationalizing the ancientness of Baybayin and unproven stones, the government should be more focus on living scripts such Surat Mangyan, Kulitan, and save Surat Buhid and Tagbanwa from really becoming extinct.

As expected, there was an ocean of comments about this ranging from stupid, interesting and weird…

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Department of Budget and Management

Above is a screenshot of the website for Department of Budget and Management with Baybayin. Looks cool as the people on Twitter mentioned but it’s written wrong!

It’s supposed to be “Kagawaran ng Pagbabadget at Pamamahala” but actually says “kagawarana naga pagabaAbadeta ata pamamahala”

There’s even an extra A there.

With the government support of Baybayin via the pending National Script Act house bill, more government websites are incorporating the script. All is this is good but as I mentioned in a post last year, there are some concerns. One that I talk about in my lectures is that with popularity and passion without a basic understanding will lead to embarrassing errors like this.

UPDATE: I reached out to them to help with the error and as of April 28, 2012, all is good.