ATTY. DOMINADOR D. BUHAIN
President, Philippine Educational Publisher Association (PEPA)
FOCUS GROUP MEETING BETWEEN THE LOCAL PUBLISHING INDUSTRY PLAYERS AND THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES TEAM OF THE BRITISH COUNCIL
(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:
- Creative industries are those that have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth job creation through generation and exploitation of intellectual property;
- 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 Philippine was selected as one of the pilot areas for creative industries projects. Starting off with the search of 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.
COURSE OF ACTION
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 the three year implementation scheme for the selected program.
ISSUES AND CONCERNS AFFECTING EDUCATIONAL PUBLISHING
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 :
- 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 prolong 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.
- 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; andSection 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 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.
- 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:
- 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 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 preposition 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- There are also other provision under RA 8047 which have not yet been implemented such as:
- To promote the effective distribution of books in the domestic as well as in international markets through an efficient and reliable postal and transport delivery system (paragraph ‘’g’’, Section 4);
- To foster the development of the skills of personnel engaged of book publishing through in-service training programs and formal degree and non-degree book publishing courses in schools (paragraph ‘’h’’, Section 4);
- 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);
- 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]);
- The Department of Education shall initiate measures of 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.
- Implementing Policies No. 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.