Message to 12th APPA General Assembly and Publishing Forum




It is with pride and pleasure that I welcome our fellow publishers in the Asia Pacific region to the 12th Asian Pacific Publishers Association’s General Assembly and Publishing Forum.


he Philippines is grateful for this distinct honor to host – through the Philippine Educational Publishers Association – this milestone event where the concerns and advocacies of publishers in the region will be addressed, even as we share and learn from the unique experiences of each one.


Book development and publishing, which foster democratization of indigenous intellectual inputs and creativity, aside from generating employment, is essential to the promotion of a country’s welfare.


With our continuing efforts in intra-regional cooperation, we are on the road to realizing the primordial aspirations of APPA to strengthen the friendship and cooperation among book publishers in the member-countries, to enhance development of the publishing industry in the region, and to solidify ties among member-nations.


In these interesting times when the region’s political and economic stability are threatened, we can count on the confluence of our initiatives and energies to surmount obstacles to the growth and development of publishing in our part of the world. Through the synergy of government and private sector efforts, we shall overcome all difficulties and achieve the goals of APPA. Thus, our theme, “Government Intervention: Survival of the Local Book Publishing Industry as a Tool for National Development”. 


Welcome to the Philippines, and we hope you enjoy your stay.








President, Philippine Educational Publishers Association (PEPA)


Resource Speaker




      (May 6,2004, 9:30 AM –12:30 PM, NBDB Conference Room)



The  Creative Industry Team from the British Council during 2001 began to develop a new programme of work – looking at how the concept of creative industries might be applied with the transitional markets.


Based on UK definitions:


  1. Creative industries are those that have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through generation and exploitation of intellectual property;


  1. Transitional economies or markets are those which have moved beyond the development stage but still unable to protect intellectual property rights in creative goods and services.


Creative Industries are now considered as the fastest-growing sector, and in economic terms, they already outperform traditional sectors such as agricultural and car manufacturing in the UK.


Through the efforts of the British Council-Manila, the Philippines was selected as one of the pilot areas for creative industries projects. Starting off with the search for International Young Publisher of the Year, Ani Rosa Almario was sent to the UK to observe the publishing industry and establish a network of linkages that would help Filipino books gain a foothold on the global market.


The British Council’s current country plan makes a strong case for the need to implement a community regeneration project through the arts.




From May 2-8,2004, a Creative Industries team from the British Council London will be in Manila as they would like to get a cross-sectional overview of what is important to the creative economy of the Philippines along with the support available from the business, government and educational sectors. This could hopefully serve as the basis for negotiations for a three-year implementation scheme for the selected program.



At the outset, the backgrounder would indicate that the promotion of creativity for the transitional market like the Philippines is predicated on the strengthening and the enforcement of laws and similar legislative measures which are so designed for the proliferation and enhancement of intellectual inputs.


Being associated with the Philippine Educational Publishers Association (PEPA), which is an aggrupation of publishers which was founded in 1950 with the following objectives:


  • Publish textbooks and other educational materials of the highest quality – both in content and style – at affordable prices in line with the national development plans and educational goals and programs;


  • Motivate, assist, and encourage Filipino writers, researchers, editors, designers, and illustrators in their professional growth and advancement;


  • Contribute to the country’s development by initiating measures for government legislation aimed at revitalizing the publishing industry and making it viable, alive, robust, and responsive to the educational, social, and cultural needs of the Filipino people;


  • Develop and maintain cordial, harmonious, cooperative relations among the publishers of Philippine textbooks and educational materials, as well as other partners in the book industry;


  • Facilitate the prompt and timely dissemination of any information which may be relevant to the protection or upliftment of the individual and collective interests of the members subject to legal limitations, like the protection of trade secrets, etc.;


  • Encourage the members to publish non-textbook materials including literary works, scholarly books, etc. to satisfy social and nationalistic objectives consistent with R.A. No. 8047;


  • Promote and protect by all lawful means the principles of copyright;


we wish to convey our concerns as we believe that there are stumbling blocks for the enhancement and promotion of educational publishing in the Philippines. Allow me therefore to present these stumbling blocks that deter the achievement of the full economic potential of the educational publishing industry :


  1. Though we have RA 8293 as our Copyright Law which is attuned to the international copyright laws under the World Trade Organization, implementation thereof appears to be difficult.


Courts of law seem to grind slowly and huge budgetary requirements are needed to supplement the efforts of the prosecution agencies.


Because of the prolonged gestation  period in the prosecution of cases, violators are emboldened to resurface after every raid.


It is unfortunate that there is a place here in our country called C.M. Recto Avenue, Manila which has unfortunately and notoriously been recognized as a place where piracy and/or unlawful reprinting and/or xeroxing are rampantly being committed.


I believe it would help if procedural guidelines would be uniformly established among the countries.


  1. Effective implementation of similar laws designed to promote the democratization of intellectual inputs like RA 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act.


This law is so crafted to ensure the affordability, accessibility and quality of books with the active participation of the private sector.


I have been privileged to be the keynote speaker during the PEPA’s General Assembly. It took me two hours to read the speech which exhaustively dealt with the various problems besetting the educational publishing sector as an offshoot of inability to implement the law.


Due to time constraint, allow me to disseminate copies of the said keynote speech.


In the course of the General Assembly. a resolution was passed stating that the Proposed Textbook Policy  of the Department of Education does not actually jibe with Sections 10 and 11 of RA 8047. Said sections state the following:


“Section 10. – Public School and Textbook Publishing. The DECS shall consult with the Board in prescribing the guidelines, rules and regulations in preparing the minimum learning competencies, and/or prototypes and other specifications for books required by public elementary and secondary schools; and Section 11. – Participation of Private Publishers in the Public School Textbook Program. Guided by the minimum learning competencies for the elementary level, the desired learning competencies for the secondary level and other specifications prepared by the DECS, publishers shall develop and submit to the DECS those syllabi and/or prototypes and manuscripts or books intended for use in the public schools for testing, evaluation, selection and approval.  Upon approval of the manuscripts or books, publishers shall produce and supply the textbooks as ordered by the DECS.”


In fact, for almost  ten (10)  years since the enactment of RA 8047, said law  has been consistently bypassed or neglected. Privatization was never given an opportunity to take its course.


To be realistic about it, only one or two publishers are being benefited.


Other issues like the uniform discounting scheme, the need to come up with measures to guarantee quality publications through the active participation of the private sector like the proposed coordination with the PEPA Critiquing Committee, etc., have also been discussed in the General Assembly.


  1. PEPA is also interposing an objection to Section 7.3 Rule II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No. 9184 – The Government Procurement Reform Act which states the following:


“The Project Procurement Management Plan (PPMP) shall include: a) the type of contract to be employed; b) the extent/size of contract scopes/packages; c) the procurement methods to be adopted, and indicating if the procurement tasks are to be outsourced as provided in Section 53(e) of this IRR-A; d) the time schedule for each procurement activity; and e) the estimated budget for the general components of the contract, e.g., civil works, goods and consultancy services.  The AP shall include provisions for foreseeable emergencies based on historical records.  In case of textbooks for general use, the packaging of the contract shall be divided into two components: a) development of the manuscript; and b) printing of the textbooks. (underscoring supplied)


The matter has been brought to the attention of the International Publishers Association (IPA) which is an aggrupation of national publishing associations from 78 countries based in Geneva, Switzerland. IPA  finds validity to the position paper of PEPA prompting it to communicate its endorsements to the various government agencies in the Philippines.


It is the contention of PEPA that the concept of the publisher under RA 8047 should necessarily embrace being a developer of the manuscript, publisher and/or printer, and a distributor of the publications all rolled into one,  as the publisher concerned is the person/entity more knowledgeable of the business compared to others.


The proposition of the Government  Procurement Policy Board to chop-off these functions of developing, publishing and/or printing and distributing to serve as bases for separate biddings may be violative not only of RA 8047 but also of the Copyright Law aside from curtailing creativity.


  1. PEPA has likewise complained that everytime there is a change in the administration, it brings about a change also in the Department of Education Secretary who would invariably issue new policies coupled with the imposition of new set of curriculum which places book development in a serious disarray. We have proposed curative measures and that we are thankful to the legislators concerned as they have  now reached the status of legislative bills.


  1. We are thankful also that through the initiative of PEPA and the indispensable participation of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) a proposed legislative enactment entitled “An Act Creating A National Book Development Trust Fund To Support Filipino Authorship” has now become Senate Bill 2612 and House Bill 6226.


  1. There are also other provisions under RA 8047 which have not yet been implemented such as:



6.1 To promote the effective distribution of books in the domestic as well as in the international markets through an efficient and reliable postal and transport delivery system (paragraph “g”, Section 4);


6.2 To foster the development of the skills of personnel engaged in book publishing through in-service training programs and formal degree and non-degree book publishing courses in schools (paragraph “h”, Section 4);


6.3 To promote whenever appropriate the use of recycled/waste paper and other inexpensive local materials in the manufacture of books to reduce the cost of such locally-produced books (paragraph “k”, Section 4);


6.4 Effective coordination between NBDB and the Department of Education shall be established for the adoption of an efficient textbook procurement program (Implementing Policy No. 5.5 (a), National Book Policy [NBP] );


6.5 The Department of Education shall initiate measures to decentralize evaluation of textbooks, references and other instructional materials particularly those which are locally developed and/or intended for specific geographic areas or cultural communities (Implementing Policy 5.5 (b), NBP);


  • (Public) School principals or equivalent officials shall be 6.7 empowered to determine which books shall be purchased and used for their respective schools (Implementing Policy 5.5 (c), NBP);”(parenthetical word supplied)


and more importantly, the formulation and passage  of the National Book Development Plan.


  1. Implementing Policies 2.2 of the NBP which 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” and 4.6 which states that; “Exportation of books shall be given proper support and incentives;” must be implemented for us to acquire the desired dignity in the family of nations.





From the foregoing, it may be deduced that though we have beautifully-crafted laws, the problems lie in their respective implementations.


We trust that the Creative Team from the British Council could furnish us with assistance to ensure the effective implementation of these measures to bring about the envisioned creative economy with business, government and educational sectors interacting with one another to provide the needed support.

Thank you very much.


About the Cover

The backdrop comprises the edifices housing the REX Group of Companies.




Atty. Dominador D. Buhain

President, REX Book Store, Inc.



9:00 AM

20 March 2004

Palispis Hall

Benguet Provincial Capitol

La Trinidad, Benguet





Commencement  Address



Good morning to each and everyone of you.  I am truly honored to have been invited as a Commencement Speaker through the courtesy of your President, Claro Q. Esoen on the occasion of the graduation of 253 candidates predominantly on vocational  and technical courses.


This part of the Philippines has a special place in my heart because the organization AKLAT received overwhelming votes during the 2001 electoral process under the leadership of your President which  could have given a representation in Congress were it not for the questionable objection of certain militant groups that AKLAT was not for, of, and by the marginalized sectors.


Until now, we are having difficulty with the Comelec on AKLAT accreditation prompting us to bring the matter to the Supreme Court or certiorari.  I am nevertheless happy of the overwhelming votes received in this area which is a clear manifestation that the people here are truly desirous of obtaining education, more than anything else. May I give credit to your President.


The theme of this Commencement Exercises is predicated on advocacy for productivity, home-based gainful employment and entrepreneurship.  The theme is indeed timely in view of the following statistics:

A total of 10.7 million Filipino were either unemployed or underemployed as of July last year (2003). The unemployment rate has gone up to 12.6 percent and the underemployment to 20.7 % or 9,450,000 or 15 million individuals in estimated absolute figures.

Unemployment or underemployment are forcing Filipinos to seek better opportunities  abroad.  Even newly – licensed  doctors have shifted to the study of nursing because of the lucrative pay of nurses abroad.  In the process, the country is being drained with skilled manpower.

Statistics in schools are not also encouraging. For every 100 students who enter Grade 1, only 67 reach Grade 6.  Of this figure, only 42 would finish high school and only 14 would earn a college diploma. Mastery of subject matter by grade in all subject areas has been found to be low which ranges from 30 to 50%.

In the tests in Mathematics and Science given by UNESCO to the children in 42 countries, the Philippines ranked 39th.  In Southeast Asia, out of the 9 schools participating, the Philippines ranked 7th, higher only than Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

The above is partly due to a pitifully small amount that our country spends for education, thus only 1/8 of what Thailand allots for basic education and only 1/7 of that of Singapore.

Another reason is the inability to implement important laws such as Republic Act 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act to ensure the affordability, accessibility and quality of books through privatization.

The Philippines has  been described as one of the hottest biodiversity hotspots.  Deforestation is causing the destruction of wildlife habitats and the extinction of many species.

The country has only 3 percent of its original vegetation.  The remaining forest cover is estimated to be only 5.4 million hectares, 5.2 million hectares of our soils are severely eroded.

About 80 percent of the country’s coral reefs are severely damaged, Fifty of the country’s 420 rivers are already dead and many lakes are ecologically endangered.

Air pollution in the four largest metropolitan areas costs the country about P 21.5 billion a year.  The national waste collection efficiency rate is a poor 40 percent.

The above scenario is primarily caused by greed, poverty, unabated increase in population and non-observance of the law.

Against this unjust social structure and harsh consequences, I would like to pose a challenge to these graduating classes to jolt into the realization that their  education and training is needed to turn the tide of despair into  hope;  the culture of dirty politics to lowest and sincere governance;  inappropriate education to serve as catalyst for the acquisition of more knowledge and the attainment of the desired efficiency and productivity  for one’s welfare and that of his/her family and more importantly that of the country.

You are indeed  a lucky group. Your education and training in school for the advocacy of productivity, home-based gainful employment and entrepreneurship are the needed thrusts to attain the above – cited objectives.

You have all the earmarks of success.  You don’t have to look for job because you can create your own jobs.  All you have to do is find out what you could produce in a home-based gainful employment setting.

Take up the challenges of entrepreneurship of organizing and managing an enterprise or a business out of what you have learned from your vocational, technical courses.

Of course there will be risks but if you always think of the risks, you will never get anywhere.  Think of a product you can produce.  Start from there and before you know it you are already self-employed.

Allow me to cite some examples of success stories. The first one is entitled “Patingi-tingi win  Converts Abroad.”  Electronic Load or E-Load, a uniquely Filipino cellular invention  is winning  commendations and converts overseas.

This breakthrough service loads up prepaid phones with small doses of airtime via SMS.  The E-Load model is now being used by a growing number of operators in different countries like Indonesia and Thailand.   Smart Load which is also  Philippine-based was cited as the “Best Mobile Application or Service for Consumers.”  Chief Executive Officer Napoleon L. Nazareno said that the Smart Load was a key element of the company’s strategy to serve a much larger market for mobile phone services.

The thrust of this strategy is to win many more subscribers from among the “financially challenged” sections of society.  Smart has addressed the low-income market by taking the cue from soap and shampoo manufacturers who expanded their markets by packaging their products in small affordable sachets.

In line with the sachet strategy, Smart Load comes in small packages worth P30, P60, P115 and P200. Nazareno was commended for this breakthrough in marketing in Cannes, France at an international gathering of business-entrepreneurs.

Another success story and considered a milestone in the history of Philippine ingenuity is the making of Lactovitale.  It is going to be formally launched and introduced in the world market this March.

A chain of supermarkets in Norway and across Scandinavia has shown its interest to import the product. USA, Canada, Germany, Africa, Mexico and the Middle East manifest also their interest.

Lactovitale was launched only in October by an all Filipino company and is the first Filipino Probiotic product to go worldwide.   These probiotics provide a symbiotic relationship between the human host and the guest bacteria in our body.  90% of all sicknesses start from a disturbed gastro-intestinal tract.

With the human gut and its outlying organs serving as host to millions of bacteria, the role these bacterias play in our body spells the difference between health and sickness.

Another  success story is about an award winning inventor who developed a new fuel product. Inventor Rudy N. Lantano, used his patented invention called Agitating Reactor Machines in developing the new product, which he named RL (Reloaded Fuel).

Lantano is the 1996 World Intellectual Property Office gold medal awardee.  RL fuel  is compatible with all kinds of internal combustion diesel and marine engines as reported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Users get several benefits namely: decrease in fuel prices and fuel consumption; low sulfur content; thus making it environment friendly;  built-in lubricant that protects and prolongs engine life;  lower flash point than the ordinary diesel fuel, resulting in easier starting and increase in combustion power.

DOST reported at present, RL is available at a pumping station in Bicutan but  will soon be obtained at all Flying V gas stations all over the country.


Allow me this time to share the historic struggle of our business. It was in 1969 when the first Rex Book Store was razed to the ground by a fire that left nothing valuable to the owners except for a prayer book “Jesus Saves Me”.  The book gave the Buhains and Fonteleras the will to go on and pick up where the fire left off.  Any period of recovery is never easy.

So it was with Rex Book Store, especially after all their employees inconsiderately left  on what they perceived was a hopeless  business.   It was like starting from scratch all over again.  Being the only one left here in the Philippines while my other brothers tried their luck abroad, I was placed in a circumstance to assist in reviving the business.

Having worked previously with the Equitable Bank and Philam Life after graduating from the De La Salle College, I commenced work with the RBS. I simultaneously started studying law at the Ateneo College of Law.  It took me 10 years to study law because of the burden of the business.  I am thankful I managed to pass the bar.

Just like any ordinary sales agent, I travelled to every nook and cranny of the archipelago to promote Rex textbooks and educational materials. I also suffered from all the pains of selling – from dealing with harsh and strict security guards in schools I visited.

I had to endure long hours of waiting to be able to speak with administrators, mostly to no avail.  Even though I was already a lawyer, I had to continue with the sales and promotional activities.

A lawyer-principal in Cebu told me that I was not dignifying the legal profession with my promotional activities.  I did not mind prestige as I was more interested in improving the commercial foundation of the business.

With perseverance, hard work and more importantly the strong infrastructure laid down by my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Juanito Fontelera with their foresight, industry and who would then had to borrow money left and right to sustain the business and develop a good credit record,  RBSI continues to exist today after the lapse of more than 50 years to help the educational requirements of our country through textbook and related educational materials. .

It has already produced more than 5000 titles for pre-elementary to post collegiate levels. It presently has 19 branches throughout the islands.

This speech would not be complete without sharing to you the Ten Commandments of Success expounded by Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Dean Eduardo Morato on the occasion of the graduation of my son Don Timothy Buhain  in December 2001 who graduated with superior honors in the Master of Entrepreneurship ( which was offered for the first time during that year by the Institute).

They are as follows:


  1. WHATEVER wealth you create, you cannot take it with you. Use it to make a better life for your family, for your workers, and for your community.  Use your talents to benefit others and you will reap true wealth.
  2. MAKE yourself obsolete every day. Your present success should be an open book so that people may copy them.  Having done so, reinvent tomorrow and the morrow after that.  There are no secrets in this world;  Only people who do not want to change.
  3. BELIEVE in yourself always. Rise above the problems of your business and your family.  Transcend all that is trivial in order to bring out the best in you.
  4. BELIEVE in the basic goodness of your fellowmen. In each and every person, each and every customer, supplier, or employee lies great potential for sharing and partnering.  Bring out the best in them and you will discover the divine that is in everyone of us.
  5. DREAM big dreams. Visualize grand visions.  Fly as if there are no limits.  Stretch yourself to the realm of the infinite and you will discover the power of the spirit.
  6. IN your vision questing, do not look for easy answer, do not travel the more travelled routes. Face the challenges as if in search of the Holy Grail.  Search for dragons to slay and demons to exorcise.  In the end, it is the purity of your purpose that will carry you through.
  7. ASK yourself always, “Am I making a big difference in the industry, in my market, in my enterprise, for my people, for my family, and for society?” Ask yourself.  “What is that one thing that is going to change the rest of my life and my life’s work?”
  8. AS I keep on saying, there are no economic crises, no falling markets, no poor products and services, and no corporate deadwood, only incompetent entrepreneurs. Never point outwards.  Always point to yourself for therein lies the answer.
  9. THE greatest challenge of man is to gain mastery over himself. Know yourself thoroughly.  Love yourself immensely.  Control your emotions.  Discipline your mind.  Nourish your soul.  Take care of your health.  Never go to excesses for in the golden mean lies the secret to a life of balance.
  10. THE greatest victory of man is to serve other with the best of his capabilities and with the best of his intentions. In the service of others, we shall become one community, we shall become one with God.

Allow me to end this speech with a question  from a well-known and well-respected Filipino, Senator Jovito Salonga in an essay entitled “What is an Educated Man?”

“Is the educated man, then one who because of his skill is able to provide for himself and his family?  Partly yes, since education should teach us how to make a living;”  but more importantly education should enable one to do something for the betterment of this world through the purity of our intention with the intervention of the Divine Providence. (Not italicized supplied)

Thank you.






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