Press Release
December 2, 2023

Gatchalian to seek oversight review on book publishing industry law

To assess whether the book publishing industry in the Philippines is keeping up with the changing times and rapid digitalization, Senator Win Gatchalian will seek an oversight review on the Book Publishing Industry Development Act (Republic Act No. 8047).

"The law that created the National Book Development Board (NBDB) focuses on printed books, but how do you now adapt to digitalization, how do you encourage publishers to go digital, and how do you also improve access to information for the public because everything is digital now?" Gatchalian asked the NBDB during a hearing on the National Reading Month Act (Senate Bill No. 475).

Atty. Jane Blessilda Fabula from the NBDB's Office of the Executive Director admitted that it does not have existing programs supporting the digitization of books. The body also said that stakeholders have concerns on digitalization because of copyright infringement issues.

"We plan to conduct an oversight over the NBDB's mandates, to inquire whether they are in line with the changing world. I also see opportunities for the use of digital books," Gatchalian added.

The Book Publishing Industry Development Act mandates the NBDB to formulate plans, programs, and operational policies and guidelines for activities on book development, production, and distribution. The Board's other duties include the conduct of research on the book publishing industry, including the monitoring, compiling, and providing data and information on book production.

The production of textbooks for public schools, however, faces different challenges. In a meeting held by the Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II), NBDB Officer-In-Charge Division Chief Kevin Ansel Dy revealed that while the public textbook procurement should only take 180 days, the process really takes three to five years because of a prolonged revision process.

Conflicting comments and the lack of full attention from the Department of Education's (DepEd) Bureau of Curriculum and Development are among the cited reasons for the prolonged revision process. The NBDB official also pressed the need for competition in the industry to ensure the availability of good quality materials.

Meanwhile, according to the 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM), about 8 in 100 Grade 5 learners shared their reading and mathematics textbooks with more than two learners. The study found that students who had their own textbooks had better scores in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.

Batas sa book publishing iparerepaso ni Gatchalian

Upang tiyakin kung nakakasabay ang book publishing industry ng Pilipinas sa pagbabago ng panahon at sa digitalization, isusulong ni Senador Win Gatchalian ang isang oversight review o pagrepaso sa Book Publishing Industry Development Act (Republic Act No. 8047).

"Nakatutuok ang batas na lumikha ng National Book Development Board (NBDB) sa mga printed na aklat, pero paano tayo makakasabay sa digitalization? Paano natin mahihikayat ang mga publishers na maging digital? At paano natin paiigtingin ang access ng publiko sa impormasyon lalo na't digital na lahat ngayon?" tanong ni Gatchalian sa mga stakeholder sa isang pagdinig sa panukalang National Reading Month Act (Senate Bill No. 475).

Ayon kay Atty. Jane Blessilda Fabula mula sa Office of the Executive Director ng NBDB, walang programa sa kasalukuyan ang ahensya upang suportahan ang digitization ng mga aklat. Aniya, nababahala ang mga stakeholder dahil sa mga copyright infringement issues.

"Magsasagawa tayo ng oversight sa mandato ng NBDB upang suriin kung tumutugon ba sila sa mga pagbabago ng panahon. Nakikita ko rin ang mga oportunidad para sa paggamit ng mga digital books," dagdag na pahayag ni Gatchalian.

Mandato ng Book Publishing Industry Development Act sa NBDB na bumuo ng mga plano, programa, mga polisiya at pamantayan sa paglikha, produksyon, at distribusyon ng mga aklat. Bahagi rin ng mga responsibilidad ng Board ang pagsasagawa ng pananaliksik tungkol sa book publishing industry, kabilang ang monitoring at paglikom ng datos at impormasyon sa produksyon ng mga aklat.

Ngunit ayon sa isang pagdinig na isinagawa ng Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM II), humaharap sa maraming hamon ang produksyon ng mga textbook para sa mga pampublikong paaralan. Ayon kay NBDB Officer-In-Charge Division Chief Kevin Ansel Dy, inaabot ng tatlo hanggang limang taon ang proseso ng rebisyon na tumatagal lamang dapat ng 180 araw.

Kabilang sa mga dahilan ng matagal na proseso ng rebisyon ang magkakatunggaling mga komento at ang kawalan ng buong atensyon mula sa Bureau of Curriculum and Development ng Department of Education (DepEd). Giit din ng NBDB, kinakailangan din ang kompetisyon sa industriya upang matiyak na may mga dekalidad na materyal na magagamit ang mga mag-aaral.

Ayon sa 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM), walo sa 100 mag-aaral sa Grade 5 ang nagbabahagi ng kanilang mga reading at mathematics textbooks sa dalawa pang mga mag-aaral. Lumabas sa naturang pag-aaral na mas mataas ang marka sa Reading, Writing, at Mathematics ng mga mag-aaral na may sariling textbook.

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