VALEDICTORY ADDRESS AND ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
(PEPA General Assembly and Presentation of the Position of President Emeritus,
October 11, 2005, Annabel’s Restaurant )
ATTY. DOMINADOR D. BUHAIN
Fellow officers and members of PEPA
I understand this is a subtle way for me to exit. Levity aside, I am elated and overwhelmed for the recognition you have bestowed on me today. I therefore accept the same. I will continue to work hopefully with same vigor the chairmanship of the Legislative Affairs and International Committees as per your mandate.
Allow me to express my deepest appreciation to PEPA First Vice-President Father Richard Varela for initiating the adoption of the Resolution as well as to the Officers and Members of the incumbent PEPA Board for unanimously supporting and approving the Resolution.
I humbly accept the recognition you have given as stated in the whereas clauses of the Resolution but it must be stated that such accomplishments were made possible due to the unwavering support of the Members and Officers.
The incumbent Board likewise circularized for your ratification incorporations in the Constitution and By-laws based on Resolutions passed by the Board and/or General Membership during past meetings and assemblies during the intervening fifteen (15) years from the time the original document was first adopted.
The Board felt it practicable that they should be included in the Constitution and By-laws to attune the same to present-day circumstances and more importantly to guide the incoming Board Members and Officers except for Article VII Section 2 on President Emeritus which particularizes the achievements of a person. All the other incorporations are deemed admitted.
- Activities in the PastNeedless to state as the PEPA President from 1992 succeeding President Jesus Ernesto Sibal almost fifteen (15) years ago until my elevation now as President Emeritus, PEPA has endeavored to pursue various activities and programs through the advocacy of pertinent legislations among others that would protect, if not uplift, the industry. for the welfare of the local book publishing industry through advocacy legislation among others that would protect, if not uplift the industry. The records would bear us out
- 2005 Accomplishments:
- If you would recall late December 2004 when everybody was busy and focused on the Christmas celebrations, the National Book Development Board or NBDB has adopted a New Rule on the Cancellation of Registration of Publishers that Produce Poor Quality Textbooks.Along this line, after thorough consultation with the members, the PEPA Board had submitted its Position Paper contesting the evaluation fees and other requirements which are not within the purview of RA No. 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act.
- On March 2005 PEPA has adopted Resolution Nos. 002 and 003 Series of 2005 that respectively mandate among others that – “ideally, authors should write for one publishing house” and “any employee cannot engage in the same business which is book publishing within three (3) years after their resignation, dismissal and/or termination from a certain publishing firm,” respectively”.Thus, exit clearance interviews or certifications from every applicant coming from other publishing firms must be required to avoid employing applicants previously dismissed due to bad records.
- On May 10, 2005, the PEPA Secretariat received an invitation for a meeting from the Department of Education concerning the 2005 Textbooks Procurement Program and the Textbook Call Guidelines for the Universal Procurement of Social Studies and English Textbooks and Teacher’s Manuals.
- On August 22, 2005 we have received communication from the Department of Education for a meeting to discuss the results of the DepEd content evaluation of Social Studies and English textbooks and teacher’s manuals.
- On September 5-6, 2005, I was invited to represent PEPA during the Symposium hosted by the Philippine Reprographic Rights Organization at SEAMEO Innotech wherein it was unearthed that illegal xeroxing of books in most cases take place within the premises or peripheries of the schools.
On International Affairs
After our successful hosting of the Asian Pacific Publishers Association (APPA) at the Manila Hotel on August 10, 2004, PEPA was invited through your humble representation to attend the APPA General Assembly in Islamabad, Pakistan on February 2005.
In April 2005, PEPA was invited as one of the speakers to the Asean Book Publishing Forum held in Bangkok, Thailand. As an offshoot thereof, I also attended the first organizational meeting of the Asean Book Publishers Association (ABPA) in Kuala Lumpur wherein PEPA through your representation drafted the ABPA Constitution and By-laws.
As agreed during the Kuala Lumpur (KL) meeting, the formation of the ABPA on August 31, 2005 was finalized here in Manila at the Seameo Innotech wherein I in representation of PEPA was elected as the Vice President for 2005-2007 and President for 2007-2009. I’m proud to say that PEPA was able again to manifest its strong presence in regional book publishing.
On Legislative Affairs:
As concurrent Chairman of the Legislative Affairs, the PEPA Board has submitted the Position Paper on S. No. 1830 (An Act Amending Section 109 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997). PEPA coordinated with NBDB, Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP), the Publishers and Booksellers Association, Inc. (PBAI) and other associations and I am proud to announce that PEPA’s Position Paper was substantially adopted by them. Together with Congressman Suplico and our Senator-friends in the Senate, RA 9337 was passed exempting book publishing from VAT.
PEPA likewise has submitted to Senator Ralph Recto our Position Paper on SB 1839 (An Act Rationalizing the Fiscal Incentives System By Withdrawing the Tax and Duty Exemptions and Preferential Treatment Granted to Government and Private Entities Under Special Laws, with Certain Exceptions Mandating the Fiscal Incentive Review Board to Oversee the Administration of all Fiscal Incentives and for other Purposes).
Rest assured that PEPA is monitoring the same to protect our interest.
We have also initiated the filing of the following bills:
- Senate Bill 1992 – An Act Adopting a Retail Price Maintenance and Uniform Discounting Scheme in Book Trade with the End in View of Ensuring Affordable, Accessible and Quality – Laden Textbooks and Other Related Educational Materials to be Used by Private and Public Schools (Introduced by Senate Luisa “Loi” Ejercito Estrada).
- B. No. 1914 – An Act Providing for the Legal Framework and Mechanisms for the Creation, Operation, Administration and Coordination of the Philippine Book Publishing Industry Development Center, Otherwise Known as the “Book City” Creating for the Purpose the book Publishing Enterprise Zone Authority (BPEZA) and for Other Purposes (Introduced by Sen. Luisa “Loi” Ejercito Estrada.
On the Book City, Senator Gordon, in response to the clamor of the Associations represented, was amenable to put it in a province near Manila like Bulacan, etc.
As an offshoot of my participation and address to the symposium on the Philippine Reprographic Rights Organization (PRRO) PEPA through your representation has endorsed to Senator Gordon PEPA’s proposed bill entitled “An Act Making the Schools and Operators of Printing and Copying Machines Jointly and Severally Liable as Principal and the Buyers and Users as Accessory for the Illegal Reproduction of Copyrighted Books and Printed Materials Amending for the Purpose Pertinent Provisions of the Intellectual Property Code (R.A. No. 8293) and the Revised Penal Code as Amended”.
Challenges and What Lies Ahead
Based on what has been reported to you, there are still challenges that need to be addressed by PEPA, namely:.
Firstly, the realization of the creation of a Book City which would hopefully bring about bigger budgetary allocation for the industry.
Secondly, the adoption of the Uniform Discounting Scheme to avoid cut-throat competition.
Thirdly, the continued protection of intellectual creations and the intensified and strict implementation of the Intellectual Property Code.
Fourthly, the need to have a compulsory licensing agreement between educational institutions and publishers as regards copyrighted books and other materials
Fifthly, The continued exemption of the book publishing industry from the coverage of VAT and other laws that diminish the priority status of the book publishing industry.
On other struggles, like other sectors who challenge and file petitions on oppressive and illegal act, PEPA has filed a certiorari before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the transfer of the NBDB from the Office of the President to the DepEd. Our legal team is following up the matter and the decision is being awaited for the welfare of the industry.
Finally, I was informed that the NBDB is planning to implement a new program, that is to put a NBDB seal to every published book. This move would again undermine the provisions of RA 8047 particularly on evaluation.
Aside from the fact that exorbitant evaluation fees would be imposed by the NBDB they wanted that books which are used freely in private schools be subjected to evaluation which is against the free flow of ideas and market forces, thus contrary to the freedom of expression clause of the Constitution.
As we embark to continue our fight and decide this afternoon on who will continue to carry the torch which would finally remove the darkness which tends to obscure the welfare of the local book industry, let it be embedded in our mind at all times the primary reason why PEPA fifty-five (55) years ago was established which is to produce books of the Filipinos, for the Filipinos and by the Filipinos.