(On the occasion 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.