Press Release
August 31, 2006


In celebration of the 27th Manila International Book Fair, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called for the promotion of book publishing industry for its significant role in national development.

Citing a study by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), Angara lamented that while 94% of all Filipino adults can read, most people would say they have not read a single book in the past six months. The study adds that while Filipinos generally recognize the value of reading, almost half say they can let a whole year pass without reading.

Angara said that these days books are read more for gaining knowledge and information, and thus perhaps reading books is seen as something done only when the need arises. Television shows, movies, radio programs and malls seem to be the more "fun" choice.

"This to me is such a pity: for book reading to be considered a chore more than a worthwhile recreation. It may seem that the rising cost of living makes the purchase of books seem a luxury, but the wisdom gained from reading and the knowledge preserved for more generations of readers is priceless," he said.

"The book publishing industry plays a vital role in national development because books are instrumental in the citizenrys intellectual, technical and cultural development," said Angara, who authored R.A. 8047 known as the Book Publishing Industry Development Act, creating the National Book Development Board in 1994.

The law formulates, adopts, and implements a National Book Policy and a National Book Development Plan that will serve as basis for nurturing the growth and viability of the book industry. It transfers to private publishers the development, publishing and distribution of books which was formerly handled by the Department of Education. In turn, the law gives fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to persons and enterprises engaged in book publishing.

"Books are the most effective and economical tools for achieving educational growth and for imparting information and for recording, preserving and disseminating nations cultural heritage," he continued.

Angara noted that textbooks and general reference books are the "mainstay" of the local book publishing industry, accounting for about 70% of the total book output in 2005.

The 27TH Manila International Book Fair will run from August 30 to September 03, 2006 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. The fair includes book launchings, seminars, workshops and educational video screenings.

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