Press Release
January 25, 2021


Privilege Speech

"Man shall not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."
(Matthew 4:4)

Mr. President and distinguished colleagues:

I rise on a matter of personal and collective privilege to highlight the celebration of the National Bible Day today, January 25, 2021, by virtue of Republic Act No. 11163 or "An Act Declaring the Last Monday of January Every Year As A Special Working Holiday In Observance of National Bible Day".

What started as a "lounge talk"/"small talk" between Senator Manny Pacquiao and I, turned into reality. The "National Bible Day Law" is not only a landmark legislation but also a national celebration that highlights the Philippines as the only predominantly Christian country in Asia.

Although this year is only the second time that we are celebrating this special working holiday in observance of the National Bible Day, Mr. President, there were at least four (4) Presidential Proclamations preceding RA 11163 that also highlight the importance of the Bible in shaping the moral fiber of the Filipino people. These Proclamations were signed during the time of President Marcos in 1982, President Cory Aquino in 1986, President Ramos in 1997, and President Duterte in 2017.

Binanggit po natin ito para ipakita na kung ang halaga po ng Bibliya sa ating lipunan ang pag-uusapan, klaro po na noon at hanggang ngayon, binibigyang diin na ito sa ating mga batas. Hindi po mapasusubalian ninuman na ang Bibliya ang sentro at buhay ng marami sa ating mga kababayan.

Timothy 3: 16-17. "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work".

Mr. President, amid the pandemic, the sickness, and loneliness, many of our Kababayans feel impossible to navigate their way out.

This is the reason why we should more bring the Bible closer to our kababayans and to encourage them to read the Bible to learn wisdom and find hope and experience the transformative power of the Word of God.

Personally, the past year has also been the toughest of times in my life, for losing Mom and Joni but I was comforted by the Word of God through the truth of His power and love.

John 16:33. "In this world there will be tribulation but be of good cheer because I have overcome this world."

In the November 2020 Nationwide Survey on COVID-19, the

Pulse Asia revealed that 94% of our kababayans are "worried" that they or any of their loved ones will contract COVID-19 while 51%said that they "experienced emotional problems like stress, anxiety, or extreme sadness".[1]

Proverbs 4:22. "For the Word is life to those who find them and health (medicine) to your flesh."

It is important to note that the word of God is life, it is life for those who are looking or it.

In a readership survey in 2017[2], the National Book Development Board (NBDB) which is an attached agency of the DepEd revealed that 72.25 percent of Filipino adults polled picked the Bible as their most read book, climbing from 58 percent in 2012.

We find the results of National Book Development Board Survey to be very encouraging because it mirrors our confidence that Filipinos are "Bible-reading" and Bible-loving" Filipinos.

Bago po ang pandemya, siksik at umaapaw sa tao ang ating mga Simbahan. Nang limitahan po ang mga taong pwedeng pumasok sa Simbahan, nakakatuwa pong na marami sa ating mga kababayan ngayon ay nakikinig na lamang online o nagbabasa na lang ng kanilang bibliya sa loob ng kanilang mga tahanan.

Psalm 33:12. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."

Ang Bibliya po ay instrumento para sa pagkakaisa at kapayapaan. Para po sa ating mga Kristiyano, ang Bibliya ang Salita ng Diyos. Ito ang ating pananampalataya at kaligtasan. Subalit ang mga mensahe nito tulad ng pag-ibig sa kapwa ay walang pinipiling relihiyon o denominasyon.

ROMANS 10:17. "The Word of God is the producer of faith, we can never have faith without the Word of God."

"Faith cometh by hearing and hearing and hearing by the word of God"

It is indeed the truth that the word of God is the producer of faith.

Mr. President, why is faith so important?

HEBREWS 11:6. "It is impossible to please God without faith."

And why do we need to please God? It is the reason that we should all answer because it is the purpose of our existence when we are created.

Bec God wants to be pleased and he is expecting human beings, not the plants or animals of this world, but human beings whom he created would please him and would honor him and worship him in spirit and in truth.

Mr. President, even George Washington, the first President of the United States of America said that "It is impossible to govern a country without God and the Bible".

In the very Preamble of our 1987 Constitution, it is not by accident, that it is written very explicit that we the sovereign Filipino people "imploring the aid of Almighty God..." We submit and acknowledge the sovereignty of our god over us, over our governments Mr. President.

PSALM 119:11. "His word prevents sin to come into our hearts."


FIRST, we want to highlight that the 1987 Constitution allows the teaching of religion in our public schools provided that the following conditions are satisfied: one, it should be within regular hours, two, upon written consent of parents and three, at no additional cost on the part of the government.

We are glad, Mr. President, that many of our public schools are pro-active in entering into partnerships with faith-based organizations for the teaching of religion or values-formation. This is an opportunity, Mr. President, to acquaint children to the Bible.

For example, DepEd-Marikina has been partnering with the Alliance of Ministers for Education and Nation-Building or AMEN since 2013 for the conduct of Values Instruction Classes or VIC.

These initiatives started when a group of pastors asked permission from school principals if they could conduct values formation class, although sa Marikina lamang po ito Ginoong Pangulo, maraming na rin pong public schools sa iba't ibang panig ng ating bansa ang pinapayagan ang mga kateista na kalimitan ay mga madre o seminarista na nagtuturo ng katesismo o bible verses sa mga bata sa public elementary schools.

Mr. President we would like to enjoin our public schools to hopefully allow more values education classes by proactively partnering with religious groups regardless of domination or sect or teaching of religion which is explicitly provided under Sec 3, Par 3 of Art 14 of our 1987 Constitution.

Sa pagkakataon po na ito nais po nating pasalamatan ang ating mga public schools, lalo na sa mga principals, na gumagawa ng paraan para makapagturo ng values formation at religion classes para sa ating mga kababayan.

SECOND, after more than 400 years after Spanish missionaries first introduced the Bible in the Philippines, it remains to be the most widely read book in the country.

As I've mentioned, in 2017, the National Book Development Board (NBDB) which is an attached agency of the DepEd and formed through Republic Act No. 8047 or "Book Publishing Industry Act" revealed that 72.27 percent of Filipino adults polled picked the Bible as their most read book.

That's 7 out of every 10 adult Filipinos, Mr. President! That's why this representation believes that "bible readership" can give us a lot of insights about the reading behavior and even patterns of book purchases of Filipinos.

In this regard, we want to reiterate our call to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to put up more internet hubs closer to our communities to ensure that even Filipinos in remote areas can have a choice to read the Bible online.

Mr. President, the alone, a searchable online bible has over 100 versions and 50 languages and has a free service for reading and researching scriptures online, all in the language or translation of your choice

THIRD, we are calling on the DepEd leadership to fastrack the issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulation of Republic Act No. 11476 or the "GMRC and Values Education Law" and to integrate the teaching of ethical and moral values in the curriculum. We believe that the Bible is the authoritative guide in ethics and morality which are the foundational principles of GMRC and Values Education.

Hanggang ngayon po kasi Ginoong Pangulo ay wala a din po tayong nakikitang IRR ng RA 11476 which institutionalize Values and GMRC in the K to 12 curriculum and signed by the president on June 25, 2020.

Umaasa po tayo na maglalabas ang DepEd ng IRR sa lalong madaling panahon.

FOURTH, and lastly, the sheer diversity of literature in the Bible makes it a complete book. However, not many public libraries have a Bible in their collection. In some of the libraries that we asked, Bibles are nowhere to be found either in the general circulation or in the reserve section.

Mr. President, if we can put a complete volume of encyclopedia in our public libraries, why can't we add even just one Bible in our collections?

Hindi lang po sa mga school kundi sa ating mga barangay at municipal libraries din sana.

In closing, Mr. President, allow me to share that while I was watching the inauguration of President Joe Biden last week, I was struck by that scene where he placed his hand on the Bible while being sworn in.

Tila paalala itong muli kung saan dapat nakasandig ang ating bayan, ang ating Republika, paalala na ang batas ng Diyos ang dapat pagmulan o kilingan ng batas ng Tao.

Hangga't ang Bibliya po ang sandigan ng ating Republika, mapagtatagumpayan natin ang pandemya. At ang Salita ng Diyos ang magsisilbi po nating "bakuna" sa takot at mga pangamba sa mga pagbabago sa daigdig natin sa kasalukuyan.

Maligayang Pambansang Araw ng Bibliya po sa inyong lahat.

Maraming salamat po at pagpalain tayong lahat ng ating panginoong Diyos. ###



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