State of Book Development and its Products as Export of the Philippines in the Asean or World Market





By: Atty. Dominador D.  Buhain

President, Philippine Educational

Publishers Association (PEPA)

Former Chairman, National Book

 Development Board (NBDB)



(Delivered on the occasion  of the College Textbook Writing

and Instructional Material Seminar-Workshop, Angeles University

Foundation, Pampanga, November 22, 2002)



Greetings to each and everyone of you. The discussion on the topic assigned to me is devoid  of facts and figures in the sense that   it is not supported by statistical data. What I shall share with you are bits and pieces of information based on my attendance in international book fairs and conferences.


I would like to maintain that the Frankfurt Book Fair which is held October of each year is still  the mecca of book fairs. It is still the biggest and the most popular. What are being sold are not  books in their physical form but rights to publish and/or     translate.


The Philippine delegation was fortunate    to have sold  textbooks and related educational materials during the last book fair. It is therefore a misconception       that textbooks and related materials could not be sold as previously declared. The potential buyers are coming  from the developing countries and those   who would like to be proficient in English.

It is unfortunate, however, that while others (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Croatia, Botswana, etc.)  in similar if not inferior footing with the Philippines are continuously  improving  the size and appearance of their respective    booths with the joint efforts of their government and the private publishers, the Philippine booth has substantially diminished its presentation. Due to the absence of logistics, the Philippine booth was  given a slot at the last end of the row and near  the toilet similar   to the situation before.


I believe that there should be a need to exert  effort to have   a dignified booth at least   at the Frankfurt Book fair not only to showcase our local  publications but to maintain the prestige of our country in the family of nations. In fact, subparagraph 4.6 of the National Book Policy (NBP) provides  that “Exportation of books shall be  given proper support and  incentives.


Caregivers and other medical books appear to be in demand. Incidentally, when I attended the induction of officers of the Book Exporters Association of the Philippines (BEAP) which is a body organized   through the intervention of the NBDB,  I learned that there is a big  business venture     in the United States which is called  Tatak Filipino which is selling not only Filipino-made products but also Filipino items of culture such as books. They have display  outlets not only in the west but also in the east coast. They suggested to the BEAP that the books to be exported must be of quality and of commensurate affordability.


The international market still prefers the colored, glossy or multi-coated papers with international contents and quality printing. They could not, however, ascertain the saleability of the books based on subject category as yet.


In the Asia-Pacific setting, in my capacity before as the Chairman of the Co-Publishing Committee of the  Asian Pacific Publishers Association (APPA) , I promoted the idea of book being authored by individuals coming from different APPA-member countries in the hope that the multi-authored books would be patronized by the countries represented.  It is unfortunate, however,  that from the time I relinquished the post last two years ago until   now, the same has not yet materialized.


Incidentally, the APPA is comprised of the national book associations of the following countries: Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. In the course of the APPA General Assembly held yearly,  it gives awards in different categories such as children’s books, reference, academe, etc. The contest relates to co-publishing and translation involving at least two or more countries belonging to APPA.


We were fortunate that the Philippines through the REX Book Store received the Gold Prize Award for reference materials this year. The prize ranges from $2000 for gold, $1000 for silver and $500 for bronze awards.


One reason why publication in the Asia Pacific countries have lesser print runs (thus affecting its quality and price) than their English or American counterparts is due to the diversity in languages. The languages and/or dialects   of the countries cited above are radically different from one another necessitating a formation of a common language to bridge understanding among them and that language is English.


I heard that Japan now requires English to be taught in schools and elsewhere beginning the age of seven. The language issue is an important factor  in the true unification of the people similar to that of the Anglo-Saxon countries. It is also important in the acquisition of knowledge.


Admittedly, when the medium of instruction is similar to that spoken in the house which is happening in the English, Japanese or German languages, there is greater absorption  of the knowledge of the various disciplines. It could help explain why at times Filipinos lag behind in our competitiveness.


My experience in Malaysia  and Brunei Darussalam  is that there is a demand for literature about our national hero Jose Rizal.


In Korea, there is a market potential for Filipino cookbooks, Filipino language learning book, Filipino-English Dictionary, and books about Philippine flora and fauna.


In Japan, English language teaching materials have become in demand. Publishers coming from English and American countries as stated  above have the competitive edge in supplying the requirements.


Though we may not be able to compete with the English or American publications, we are hopeful that we should be able  to target at least the growing  number of Filipinos which are based practically in every nook and cranny of the world.


The NBDB has to tap commercial attaches, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Tourism, etc. in assisting Filipino associates to drumbeat local publications not only for the enhancement of local book publishing but more importantly for the preservation of our heritage.


Librarians worldwide could be good target of book promotions but they only order 1 or 2 copies per title.


By way of summation, there is therefore a need to join prestigious  book fairs.


Secondly, there is also a need to help the book exporters in cooperation with the appropriate government agencies to accomplish their missions of promoting our local books. Subsection 2.2 of our NBP  provides that: “Private publishers shall be encouraged and given assistance   to participate  in international book fairs so that they   may be induced  to produce globally competitive publications.”


Thirdly,  there is a need to excel in the English language without abandoning  the local language or dialects as they are the very soul of our culture.


Fourthly, when foreign-authored books do not have   the local counterparts, as we  may be far behind in matters of technology such as in medical field, engineering and technology, we should develop co-authorship or co-publication to respond to the local requirements. This pronouncement is consistent with subsection 2.9 of the NBP which provides that: “Publication of scientific and technical books and the translation of these to local and foreign languages shall be promoted.”


Fifthly and finally,  we must evolve a databank  of facts and figures to provide a realistic statistical information on book publishing  to serve as a basis of  appropriate strategy and to make speeches similar to what I am doing now a little bit more accurate.


Thank you very much as I hope that I was able to convey something of significance.

























(On the occasion of the  induction of the new set of Officers

of the Book Exporters Association of the Philippines(BEAP),

 REX Printing Multi-Purpose Hall, October 29, 2002, 11:00 AM)


We are honored and privileged to have been chosen as the venue of the induction of the new set of officers of the BEAP. May I therefore   have the honor of congratulating the new set of officers.

As a former officer of the National Book Development Board (NBDB), allow me to congratulate   the new leadership of the NBDB Secretariat under Ms. Gemma Cunanan     under the overall leadership of Chairman Dennis Gonzalez.

We trust that under  a revitalized    leadership, the realization of the issues and concerns under RA 8047 would be given solutions.

One of the important issues is to address the scarcity of textbooks and related materials   in public schools considering that more than seven years have lapsed from the passage of the law.

Another corollary issue is that books are unlike   construction materials and that they are different from one another if they are authored by different individuals under a given subject matter and therefore should not be subjected to public bidding.

I wish to convey that I initiated the advocacy of these issues at the international level when I attended the International Publishers Association’s meetings   in the course of the Frankfurt Bookfair.

With respect to the Frankfurt Bookfair, it is unfortunate to realize that while virtually all the members of the Asean nations have beautiful  pavilions or  booths showcasing their publications, the Philippines (except for a small hole in the wall situated in the far end of the row wherein the name of REX Book Store, Inc. and PEPA are posted) has once more lost its visibility and prestige.

It is uncontested that the Frankfurt Book Fair is still the biggest and most popular bookfair in the world. We trust that the NBDB can revive the practice in the past wherein appropriate allotments had been made to subsidize decent booths.

Another issue of importance is the  threatened abolition of NBDB. The unity of the book publishing industry similar to the other industries like the movie industry can play  a pivotal role in stressing the importance   of this agency to enhance the book publishing industry.































            As per initiative of the undersigned (which was acknowledged during the opening remarks of the IPA President  Pere Vicens), a round table conference   on textbooks was held on October 10, 2002.


Due to the importance of the subject matter, the IPA President presided over the  conference. Based on my recollection, the following countries or aggrupation  of countries have representations, namely: Germany, Great Britain, African Publishers Network (APNET), China, Denmark, Norway, USA, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), Federation of Arab Publishers, Balkan Countries Group, etc. Each was allowed to discuss the situation of textbook publishing   in the country or group of countries they were representing.


The Philippines through the undersigned   presented the following issues:


  1. Why is there scarcity of textbooks and related materials in terms of quantity and quality in the Philippine public schools  notwithstanding the passage  of the Book Publishing Industry Development Act (RA 8047) seven years ago?


  1. Why books including textbooks should not be subjected to public bidding.


One noteworthy input was the one presented by Lars Grahn who is concurrently the Chairman of the Freedom to Publish Committee and the Norwegian Publishers Association when he mentioned   that government should   not intervene   anymore in the evaluation of textbooks to be procured  and that the same  shall be done   by the school heads as the same may be violative   of the free-flow of information. He said that  Norway has long stopped the




practice of government intervening   in the evaluation of the textbooks and related materials twenty years henceforth.


There was no official   resolution or recommendation at the conclusion of the discussion as the matters presented therein would be the subject of further  deliberations due to time constraint.


The Chairman of the Task Force making liaison with international agencies like the World Bank, etc. in the person of IPA Legal Counsel Carlo Scollo Lavizzari notified the undersigned that the issues presented  by the Philippines are valid concerns which must be relayed to the World Bank.


(Note:  Once the official minutes of the meeting shall have been received, the same shall immediately be    disseminated to you for your perusal.)





It was also unearthed in the course of the attendance to the IPA meetings that in view of our being a signatory  to the Nairobi Protocol on September 30, 1985, we have long  been    allowed to import machinery(ies) for the production of books free from any custom duty(ies) and related charges as long as there is/are no equivalent machinery(ies)   locally manufactured.





It is unfortunate to realize that while virtually all the members of the Asean nations have beautiful  pavilions or  booths showcasing their publications, the Philippines (except for a small hole in the wall situated in the far end of the row wherein the name of REX Book Store, Inc. and PEPA are posted) has once more lost its visibility and prestige.


It is uncontested that the Frankfurt Book Fair is still the biggest and most popular bookfair in the world. We trust that the NBDB can revive the practice in the past wherein appropriate allotments had been made to subsidize decent booths.






President & Chairman, International

Affairs Committee





















The Manila Critics’ Circle has been instrumental in elevating the quality of Filipino literature as a whole. Your noble undertaking of giving out annual National Book Awards for the best books published in the Philippines deserves the support not only of industry players but of the citizenry.


Verily, the noteworthy activity of the Manila Critics’ Circle is giving flesh to the second paragraph of Section 2 of RA No. 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act on the need to produce quality books with the active participation of the private sector.


We, at PEPA are one with you in engendering excellence in book writing and publishing. In all our  projects and programs, we strive to live up to the Association’s objectives of publishing textbooks and other educational materials of the highest quality and at affordable prices and, assisting and encouraging Filipino writers, editors, designers, illustrators and other involved in book publishing in their professional growth and advancement.


We wish the Manila Critics’ Circle continuing success in all its endeavors.






                                                     ATTY. DOMINADOR D. BUHAIN



















Atty. Dominador D. Buhain

President, REX Oasis of Arts and Culture

(RETRO Concert, August 17, 2002, Hotel Rembrandt)



Ladies and gentlemen. . .


On behalf of the REX Oasis of Arts and Culture Foundation’s (ROAC) Board of Directors, Mr. Juanito F. Fontelera, Mr. Mario D. Buhain, Mr. Rogelio C. Fontelera, Ms. Auring Dungca, we wish to express our heartfelt thanks for making this event possible through your indispensable support.

Whatever proceeds that may be obtained in excess of the cost will be for the augmentation of the funds dedicated for scholarship of those less-privileged but with strong potential to enrich our arts and culture. Likewise, a portion of the excess funds would be given to the Good Samaritan Foundation which was founded under the leadership of the late Art Borjal.

ROAC is privileged to have invited one of the finest bands in town comprising of executives from their chosen filed of endeavor to provide us with entertainment to bring back nostalgic recollection of the past.

Relax, enjoy the evening as we reminisce the good memories of yesteryears.










Congratulatory  Message




Atty. Dominador D. Buhain

President, Philippine Educational

Publishers Association


(On the occasion of the opening ceremony of the Seoul

International Book Fair 2002, Seoul,  Korea, June 7, 2002)




On behalf of the Philippine Educational Publishers Association (PEPA), I would like to congratulate the people behind the success of the Seoul International Book Fair 2002 as well as the assumption into office of the new President of the Korean Publishers Association, Mr. Lee Jung IL.


The leadership of Mr. Lee Jung together with Mr. Choon Ho Na as President of the Asian Pacific Publishers Association (APPA) will not only continue to enhance the success of the Seoul International Book Fair but will also reinvigorate and strengthen the book publishing industry in general in the Asia Pacific Region.


The success of the Seoul International Book Fair is consistent with the success of the hosting by South Korea of the FIFA (Federation of International  Football Associations) World Cup 2002 highlighted by the recent overwhelming victory of  your country over Poland.


These three-fold successes would not have been possible without the hard work, unity and cooperation of the South Korean people.


May I, as the humble representative  of our country acknowledge the greatness of the South Korean people. Thank  you very much!







The educational publishing industry  this year  was confronted with threats or problems under the guise of proposed legislations that would revert to the scenario during government monopoly days.

Bills were proposed adopting the single-textbook adoption scheme , institutionalizing bidding and the compulsory purchase of publishing rights from the copyright owner and publisher once a manuscript shall been developed and chosen.

PEPA filed its position paper opposing House Resolution No. 156 entitled Single Textbook Adoption Policy. The bill seeks to amend RA 8047 or the Book Publishing  Industry Development Act by  reverting to the  government the development and publishing of textbooks and educational materials. The position paper  was sent to all the senators. At this writing, no notice has been received as to its progress.

Recently, we sent a communication and paid a courtesy call to the National Book Development Board  or NBDB Chairman Dr. Dennis Gonzalez. We informed him, among others, that the past leadership of NBDB and PEPA have opposed bidding as it may not be legally feasible to have bidding on varying intellectual    inputs of different writers or authors.

Moreover, bidding focuses on price and not on quality. It does not democratize intellectual inputs from various parts of the nation. The situation is worsened through the participation of foreign counterparts.

Early this week, PEPA filed its opposition to the Macias bill as it once more recommends bidding (though at a provincial level) and it requires transfer of ownership to the government and the non-payment of compensation for the manuscript developed and chosen.

PEPA once more expressed its opposition to bidding and that the compulsory transfer of ownership once a manuscript shall have been developed and chosen is a deprivation of the rights of a copyright owner and the publisher which indeed is a replication of the scenario during the government  monopoly days. The absence  of compensation as noted under Section 7  further aggravates the situation. In effect, it becomes a gratuitous transfer at the detriment of the copyright owner.

Let it be mentioned that the inherent rights of a copyright owner under our Intellectual Property Code are the economic rights which include the right to reproduce, dramatize, translate, adapt and the moral rights which may not be trampled upon.

At this writing, I received Resolution No. 25 from Senate that the Philippines  has become a signatory to World Trade Organization which means that we are bound not only with the local but international  copyright laws as well.

Another lingering problem which we are confronted with is the failure of government to truly implement RA 8047 particularly Section 10 concerning Public School and Textbook Publishing despite the lapse of six years during my incumbency as NBDB Chairman.

We received, however, an assurance from Chairman Gonzalez that once it shall have obtained a position of strength (meaning once the private sector representatives in the Board shall have been completed), they would manifest their stand to the DepEd.

We have likewise mentioned to the Chairman that now is the time more than ever to require the implementation of the law as the private sector appears united.

There is another area wherein our law appears not to be applied. I am referring to paragraph 9, Section 109 which explicitly exempts from any VAT imposition the sale of books. It is also expressly mentioned under Section 12 of RA 8047 that transactions on books are exempt from EVAT. Until this point in time, no answers are forthcoming.

On  bills that would add cost burden  to the publishers, PEPA  filed opposition to Senate Bill No. 916 requiring publishers to furnish free of charge two copies of their books  to the congressional libraries in addition to those given to other entities which when added comes to a total of 15 copies.

PEPA claims that it would tend to increase the cost of books thus violating the affordability aspect under RA 8047. At the moment, we have not been notified   of any action on the bill.

PEPA likewise filed its opposition to Senate Bill Nos. 108 and 1039 – Books for the Barrios Program which gives exclusive authority to the Instructional Materials Council Secretariat of the DepEd exclusive authority to donate books, magazines and other educational materials to public, private schools and libraries  under a criteria that shall be laid down by the IMCS-DECS.

PEPA maintains that it is contrary to privatization and that pursuant to RA 8047 IMCS-DECS should have long been dissolved. In fact, the publishers express apprehension that if there should be a liberal interpretation of the provisions of the bill it may resurrect its powers similar to that exercise during the monopoly days.

PEPA was also given by the Senate a chance to express its view that the procurement of textbooks and educational materials should be consistent with the provisions of RA 9155 or the Governance of the Basic Education Act.

(I am happy that through the joint effort of NBSAP and PEPA, there has been an increase in the  budgetary allocation for textbook and other supplementary materials.)
It means that that the procurement    should be devolved to the division level (if the school level is not yet feasible) and that there should firstly be  consultations with the NBDB and that the publishers must be duly registered with NBDB and has the capacity to supply.

In connection with the lobby initiated by the movie industry to increase the penalty on account of piracy of films, music, etc., PEPA sought intervention by filing a position paper rationalizing that considering that films, movies and book publishers are in equal footing, whatever increase in penalty that shall be granted to acts constituting piracy in the movie industry shall equally be granted to book  publishing. No feedback, however, has so far been received from the Senate.

Concerning international affairs, PEPA through your humble representation has been elected one of the vice-presidents to represent the Asean region in the Asia Pacific Publishers Association (APPA) for three years.

We hope that the Philippines through PEPA can make it to the Presidency though the chances are slim. Incidentally, APPA is looking for a convention site after the Bangkok and New Delhi Conferences. They are suggesting Manila.

Your representation has been appointed Philippine correspondent during the fast  four issues of the UNESCO Asian Book Development Magazine.

PEPA’s views have also been communicated to Dr. Florangel Braid, delegate to the UNESCO concerning the promotion and use of multilingualism and  universal access to cyberspace and that while we agree to the above-cited objectives, the inherent rights of copyright owner must be protected.

The Philippines through PEPA’s complete attendance at the International Publishers Association (IPA) general meetings at Frankfurt, Germany has been given recognition by its leadership.

Your humble representation in fact sought membership at the IPA Executive Committee to represent the Asean Region . It is being tabled for discussion. (Incidentally, IPA through its collective persuasion to the Philippine government played a pivotal role in the passage of RA 8047.)

The IPA President is also considering PEPA’s proposal  to have within IPA a Textbook Committee wherein hopefully PEPA  could play an active role. Likewise, your humble representation continues to be the chair of the  Philippine Freedom to Publish Committee.

Recently, your representation attended the IPA Copyright Convention in Accra, Ghana wherein I sought intervention for the blatant piracy or unauthorized xeroxing in our country.

As regards to other matter like the plight of AKLAT, we have filed supplemental pleading, motions for reconsiderations with the Supreme Court, Comelec, and Office of the Solicitor General. Let us pray for Divine intercession that we be given congressional seats in order not only to represent the industry but also the teachers, students and our marginalized brothers and sisters in need  of education.

Through the initiative of Jorge Garcia and Mr. Louie Reyes, PEPA  entered into an agreement with MAPSA to enhance the capability of teachers in lieu of additional discounts – subject , however to modifications.

It must be admitted though that PEPA has not been very active in attendance to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI). I hope we can be more active with the PCCI to further strengthen our advocacy.

I am optimistic that the various committees through their respective chairpersons were able to adequately convey their areas of concern.

In order to convert the Presidential Report, the Treasurer’s Report and the Committee Reports into official records, may I therefore request for your kind applause which will serve as a manifestation of your approval.

Thank you very much.











(Publishing Forum, March 16,2002

 Sunrise Holiday Mansion, Tagaytay City)



Director Carolina Guerrero, Director Merlita Nolido, fellow PEPA officers, members, publishers, booksellers, writers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, welcome!


On the occasion of the more than 50  years of existence of PEPA, we are holding  this General  Assembly to provide a yearly update on what PEPA has done as it relates to publishing circumstances here and elsewhere.

The election of officers was held last night. Congratulations are in order for the newly-elected officers.

One of the highlights of today’s activities is a forum on “Filipino Educational Publishers and the Changing Education Policy” wherein important officers from the Department of Education, National Book Development Board (NBDB) shall participate.

We shall be enlightened on “The Basic Education Curriculum” by our   distinguished speakers and the important role  of the NBDB as the bridging agency between DepEd and the textbook publishers. And the highlight, of course, will  be the message of our keynote speaker.

We anticipate that our speakers shall give us insights on the new policy directions and parameters on Philippine education.

The more important question that shall be deliberated upon, I believe, is whether or not it is sound public policy to change educational parameters everytime there is a change of administration, and  the pros and cons on the adoption of the proposed new Basic Education Curriculum.

The remarks and discussions during the proceedings could serve as the bases of resolutions that may be passed in this conference.

It is on these background that we welcome you all to this conference.

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