What Can Be Done in the Field of Publishing Through Publishing Organizations to Achieve the Goal of Greater Regional and International Understanding


Speech of Atty. Dominador D. Buhain, ABPA President, During the Roundtable Discussion on the Topic: “What Can Be Done in the Field of Publishing through Publishing Organizations to Achieve the Goal of Greater Regional and International Understanding” in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia on October 9, 2009


In my capacity as President of ABPA until November, 2009 which has representations from seven (7) member-countries; Vice President of Asia Pacific Publishers Association (APPA) which has representations from sixteen (16) member-countries and Philippine Chief Delegate to the International Publishers Association (IPA) which has representations from sixty five (65) member-countries, membership to these organizations appears to be indispensable to attain the goal of regional and international understanding.


Issues would be raised during the associations’ meetings and resolutions (consistent with the objectives and purposes of the associations) would serve as bases for advocacy.


Important matters that would be threshed out also based on speeches given during roundtable discussions such as this and other fora would likewise be basis for formulation of resolutions. It would be waste of time, effort and money if no resolution or common course of action would be adopted. Conferences, symposia and the like are being held to satisfy certain objectives not merely to exchange pleasantries and see the venue and its surroundings, etc. Progress would not be attained if certain issues would remain unresolved.


A case in point (with due respect) is my observation concerning the conduct of the proceedings on the 2009 Forum of Asia Pacific Graphic Arts and Technology in Tokyo, Japan on October 5, 2009 where I just came from. I learned that year-in year-out for the past ten (10) years they would meet and would present their country reports but no resolutions are being adopted.


Common problems are not being addressed collectively thus the sentiment at least of the majority is not necessarily given attention.


There are no clear-cut documentations on what have been resolved thus no positive course of action is being undertaken. Your humble representation made some suggestions which they accepted for consideration.


On the other hand, on September 15, 2009 there was Editorial Exchange between IKAPI and Rex Book Store, Inc in the Philippines under the sponsorship of ABPA with representatives from Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as observers.


Various resolutions for the betterment of editing in textbook and non-textbook publications were adopted which include the following: a) That English Proficiency shall be necessary requirement for editing books and related materials using the English language; (b) That in order to create a core of trained editors in the ASEAN Region, national standards in editing shall be developed; (c) That a career progression program in book publishing in the region shall likewise be developed and (d) That to appeal to the Indonesian government not to bypass private publishers in the preparation of school materials for students’ use because of their important role to society and e) to respect the rights of publishers including the right to give appropriate pricing to their publications to bring about quality textbooks and reasonable profits therein.


Recently through ABPA, APPA and IPA, communications were sent to support Indonesian publishers under IKAPI by appealing to the Indonesian government to give recognition to the plight of the private publishers as they play pivotal roles in publishing, printing, and distribution of publications to the students.


Allegedly, authors contracted by the government would directly supply the book content to the students via internet and any printer(s) would just download the same without the participation of local publishers.


In retrospect, allow me to present some resolutions that have been passed and other noteworthy developments from the time ABPA was constituted in June 2005 until this point in time:


1. Various committees have been formed, namely: a) Training and Development Committee; b) Legal, Licensing and Copyright Committee; c) Co-publishing, Translation and Distribution Rights Committee; d) Bookfairs, International Fora, and Foreign Affairs Committee; e) Membership, Information and Technology Committee; and f) Marketing, Distribution and Asean-Wide Readership Committee.


2. One resolution that was passed is to urge the member-countries not only to highlight their medium of communication on important developments relating to book publishing and related activities in their local language or dialect but also to translate the same in English or other languages that would be understood by the other member-countries.


ABPA is appreciative that the member-countries are observing this resolution particularly on the part of Brunei and Malaysia.


3. In practically all the bookfairs of the Asean member-countries during the preceding four years until now, an ABPA booth is given for free by the host member-countries including Hongkong, Taipei, Beijing and Korea, although the latter would require that the individual name of the participating countries would be identified instead of collectively calling them ABPA.


4. As an offshoot of this frequent showcasing of ABPA in the various bookfairs and related activities, ABPA has created a brand to such a point that it is being invited in other prestigious gatherings such as the Asian Publishing Convention held on July 16-17, 2009 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Philippines and the forthcoming Asia Business Forum for PR and Media Asia Congress to be held on January 26-27, 2010 in Singapore, among others.


5. Recently, the ABPA Legal, Licensing and Copyright Committee was able to complete the matrix of the provisions of the copyright laws of the Asean member-countries. It would give us readily an opportunity to evaluate which is the most effective provisions among the copyright laws of the member-countries.


With the help of the Divine Providence, it is envisioned that a similar treatment would be adopted for the national book policies and related legislations and implementing rules, if any, of the member-countries with a view of ascertaining best practices.


6. As mentioned already, the bigger organizations like the APPA and the IPA invariably give their support to the concerns of the ABPA as all these organizations practically have the same objectives.


In fact, the Book Publishing Industry Development Act of the Philippines or RA 8047 became a law through the endorsement and intervention, among others of APPA and IPA.


In view of the failure to implement provisions of RA 8047, resolutions of these associations once more are being ascertained to serve as bases for advocacy.


Though the desired economic advantages may not have been fully realized at this point in time, one important consideration we have achieved is that we have attained solidity, harmony and cooperation in terms of personal relationships with one another.


This is indispensable in achieving our primary objective of attaining greater regional and international understanding. This would in turn serve as a basis not only of social but economic development to ultimately realize that the traffic of intellectual inputs should not be confined from west to east but from east to west also.


In other words, it would not be just a one-way but a two-way traffic. Thank you.

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