Thursday, March 5, 2009


by Ed Sabalvoro and Alvin J. Buenaventura

12th Congress
July 23, 2003- Deputy Speaker Raul M. Gonzalez (current Secretary of Justice) filed House Bill No. 6226.
August 3, 2003- Senate Majority Floor Leader Loren Legarda filed Senate Bill No. 2612.

During a conference at the Philippine Normal University, where National Book Development Board (NBDB) Chair Dennis T. Gonzalez was guest speaker, 135 signatures were generated in support of the Trust Fund .

December 2003- Feature article "Trust Fund for Filipino Authors Proposed by Solons" by Carlo June J. Panila appeared in BOOKWATCH, the quarterly publication of the NBDB.

13th Congress
July 20, 2004- Congressman Raul T. Gonzalez Jr. filed HB 1531.
August 03, 2004- HB 1531 passed First Reading.

December 2004- Printed in the December issue of BOOKWATCH were "Structures of Creativity" by Dr. Dennis T. Gonzalez and "Bill on Authors' Trust Fund Reintroduced in Congress" by Carlo June J. Panila.

October 11, 2005- HB 1531 on Second Reading authored by Gonzalez, Reyes (E), Lapus, Villafuerte, Carmona, Barinaga, Dominguez, Dy (C.), Gullas, Macarambon, Chungalao, Plaza, Joaquin, Acosta, Suplico, Yapha, and Banaag.

June 30, 2004- SB 78, authored by Senator Luisa P. Ejercito, was filed.
July 28, 2004- passed First Reading at the Senate.
August 11, 2005- Co-authored by Sen. Edgardo Angara.

February 21, 2006- House approved HB 1531 on Third Reading.
March 01, 2006- House version transmitted to Senate.
March 17, 2006- NBDB held a Forum-consultation on Trust Fund for comment and to propose possible rules on the implementation of HB 1531 and SB 78.

March 17, 2006- The NBDB Governing Board passed resolution #4 asking the Senators to act promptly to expedite the passing of the National Book Development Trust Fund Bill into law. The Board further resolved to direct the NBDB Secretariat to include their recommendations in the plan i.e. to write to all the book industry stakeholders to send their respective letters or position papers expressing support of said bill and to conduct informal lobbying with the Senators.

March 27, 2006- News article "House okays trust fund for book development" by Ruby Anne M. Rubio appeared in BusinessWorld, S1/11. Same article was reprinted in BOOKWATCH, volume 10 issue 1, Jan-March 2006, p. 17.

April 7, 2006- National Book Development Trust fund Task Force composed of NBDB employees, namely Director Wilfred M. Castillo, Rene Catangay, Alvin J. Buenaventura, Bong Versoza, Jun Briola, and Ed Sabalvoro, was convened. Visits were made to the Office of Senator Juan Flavier, Education Committee Chair, by the Task Force.

April-June 2006- In her article "Top Ten Reasons for Filipino Book Lovers to Celebrate" (BOOKWATCH, vol. 10, issue 2, p. 5), author Mary Ann A. Punsalan placed number five in her list the National Book Development Trust Fund.

Summer 2006- NBDB interns Ma. Viel Rania C. Cabanawan, Sainah Benz M. Alonzo, and Paula Nicola S. de Asis, designed and produced Trust Fund brochures and flyers. These brochures were also available for download at the agency website.

August 31 – September 03, 2006- NBDB distributed brochures on the Trust Fund at the NBDB Booth during the 27th Manila International Book Fair held at the World Trade Center, Pasay City

NBDB established ties with Read or Die, Inc., a local book club, to campaign for the passage of the Trust Fund at the Senate. They posted trust fund campaign contents on their website on October 2006 and discussed it among their members.

October-December 2006- In her article "The Year in Review: NBDB Goes Global in 2006," (BOOKWATCH vol. 10, issue 4, p. 34), author Erin C. Cabanawan discussed the Book Development Trust Fund.

January 24, 2007- Page C-1 of Manila Bulletin article “Read to Live” mentioned NBDB signature drive for National Book Development Trust Fund.
February 3-4, 2007- Signature Drive on the Book Trust Fund at the Read or Die Convention, Hotel Intercon, Makati.

Task Force posted the Alert Action on the Trust Fund Bill online at the NBDB website hoping for more support. Campaign resources were even made available such as sample letters, email addresses, and contact information of Senators.

14th Congress
July 26, 2007- Cong. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr. filed HB 1401.
August 08, 2007- Cong. Rufus B. Rodriguez filed HB 1948.

July 02, 2008- NBDB Chair Dennis T. Gonzalez sent letter to Committee Chair Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano urging him to co-author the Trust Fund Bill and to convene Education Committee and hold a hearing.

July 03, 2008- Approved by the House on Second Reading HB 4213 filed by Cong. Raul T. Gonzalez Jr. with the following co-authors – Rufus Rodriguez, Del De Guzman, Edcel Lagman, Laarni Cayetano, Edgardo Chatto, Isabelle Climaco, Carlos Padilla, Crispin Remulla, Thelma Alamario, Carmencita Reyes, Marcelino Teodoro, Rodolfo Valencia, Liza Maza, Trinidad Apostol, Mariano Piamonte, Mark Llandro Mendoza, Isidro Ungab, Florencio Garay, Arturo Robes, Francisco Matugas, Salvador Escudero, and Eufrocino Codilla.

Chair Dennis T. Gonzalez led the NBDB delegation composed of Exec. Dir. Atty. Andrea Pasion Flores, Dep. Exec. Dir. Frances Jeanne Sarmiento, and Ed Sabalvoro.

June 11, 2008- Approved by the House (by 198 votes ) on Third Reading.
June 17, 2008- Transmitted to and received by the Senate.

June 11, 2008- Senate’s Committee Report 78 submitted recommending approval and substituting SB nos 619, 1720, and 2403, with Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Edgardo J. Angara, Manny Villar, and Allan Peter S. Cayetano as Authors.
September 22, 2008- Sen. Lito Lapid is made co-author of SB 2409.

October 08, 2008- NBDB Secretariat conferred with Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano and staff for the Senate’s Education Committee Hearing on Trust Fund.
October 09, 2008- Sponsorship Speech of Sen. Cayetano. SB 2409 approved on Second Reading without amendments. Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri made co-author.

November 10, 2008- SB 2409 was approved on Third Reading in the Senate.
November 13, 2008- SB 2409 was sent to the House of Representatives requesting concurrence.
November 27, 2008- In his column MINI CRITIQUE at The Philippine Star, Dr. Isagani Cruz wrote about Senate Bill 2409.

January 19, 2009- House of Representatives adopted SB 2409 as an amendment to HB 4213.
February 05, 2009- Enrolled copies of the consolidated version of SB 2409 and HB 4213, sent to the House of Representatives for the signature of the Speaker and the Secretary General.

February 16, 2009- Enrolled copies of the consolidated version of SB 2409 and HB 4213, sent to the Office of the President of the Philippines, for the signature and approval of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

March 06, 2009- Ceremonial signing of Republic Act 9521: An Act Creating a National Book Development Trust Fund To Support Philippine Authorship by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the Presidential Guest House, Malacanan Palace, Manila.

Salient Points of Republic Act 9521:


Policy: It is the policy of the State to promote the continuing development of the book publishing industry in all regions of the country as embodied in Republic Act No. 8047 or the "Book Publishing Industry Development Act."

Since authorship is one of the major components of book publishing, the national book policy obliges the State to create a dynamic and conducive environment for the promotion of Filipino authorship and other creative activities in book development.

A National Book Development Trust Fund is established exclusively for the support and promotion of Filipino authorship especially in Science and Technology and in subject areas wherein locally authored books are either few or non-existent.

Fund Sources:

1. The amount of fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be allotted in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) for the next five (5) years starting from the enactment of this law;

2. The amount of fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) fund at five million pesos (P5,000,000.00) per month for ten (IO) months;

3. Another fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) at five million pesos (P5,000,000.00) per month for ten (10 ) months.

Grants Program Guidelines:

1. Only interests drawn from the fund sources shall be used;

2. Grants will be awarded after one year and distributed equitably in the regions;

3. Government corporations are authorized to give grants to the fund at their discretion;

4. Contributions to the Fund shall be exempt from the donor's tax and the same shall be considered as allowable deductions from the gross income of the donor, in accordance with the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended;

5. The National Book Development Board (NBDB) shall be the administrator of the Fund; For the sound and judicious management of the Fund, the NBDB shall appoint a government financial institution;

6. The NBDB in coordination with the national and local government units (LGUs) shall undertake activities to inform, promote and develop Filipino authorship;

7. The NBDB may provide incentives to LGUs such as, but not limited to, matching the funds being provided by the LGUs, in activities that reflect their partnership towards attaining the objectives of this Act.

Effectivity. -This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in any newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines.

This is consistent with other relevant policies:

Section 2 of Republic Act 8047 recognized that “the book publishing industry has a significant role in national development…considering that books are the most effective and economical tools for achieving educational growth, for imparting information and for recording, preserving, and disseminating the nation’s heritage;

The same law declares as a policy of the State to promote the continuing development of the book publishing industry, with the active participation of the private sector, to ensure the adequate supply of affordable, quality-produced books not only for the domestic but also the export market;

Letter j, Section 6, Rule IV of the Rules and Regulations Implementing R.A. 8047 provides for the Governing Board the power and function to “receive donations, grants, levies, devices, and similar acquisitions which shall form a trust fund of the Board to accomplish its development plans on book publishing. Any intended disbursement from the trust fund must be covered by a duly approved Board resolution;

General Policy #1 of the National Book Policy, promulgated and adopted on 4 July 1999 through Executive Order No. 119, provides that “the State shall create the best condition for the promotion of Filipino authorship and other creative activities in book development;”

Implementing Policy 1.1 and 1.9 of the National Book Policy provide that “new writers/authors shall be developed…with preferential attention to subject areas wherein there is scarcity or no locally-authored publications” and “a book development fund for authors and other personnel in the book publishing industry shall be established, respectively;

Outcomes and Externalities: A National Book Development Trust Fund to support Filipino authorship may solve the following:

1. The problem of low levels of output in book production in the Philippines. This is a concern that has been raised by government policy-makers and stakeholders in the industry (Pacheco, 1996:2,13; UNESCO, 1995; Miranda, 1987:5;Aprieto, 1981:3-4; Albert, et al., 1966:2). The estimates made on the number of titles we produced yearly pales in comparison with other countries.

This will increase the number of titles produced annually especially on local history, science and technology, indigenous children’s stories, and translations of classic works into local languages, among others.

2. The lack of incentives for authors and creative artists caused by the limited number of research grants and fellowships which force authors to move to more financially rewarding endeavors.

This will motivate and inspire veteran as well as budding authors and book writers to write books in Filipino, English and in other local languages.

3. The lack of trained and competent authors, editors, designers, graphic artists and production specialists.

This will create more training and development activities to encourage authors and the creative members of the industry to come out with bigger quality outputs and create more trained and competent personnel.

4. Minimal number of works written in any of the eight major local languages or dialects viz. Cebuano, Hiligaynon (Ilonggo), Bikol, Kapampangan, Ilokano, Waray, Tagalog, and Pangasinense.

This will eventually spur a vibrant book trade in the regions in the future.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Manila Critics Circle

(Source: Souvenir Program for the 27th NBA)

Founded in 1981, the Manila Critics Circle is a non-profit, non-stock organization of professional literary critics and newspaper columnists who believe that Philippine books deserve much more attention than they usually get from business, media, and the general public.

Aside from giving the National Book Awards annually, the Circle has held an ASEAN-wide literary contest (in cooperation with Filipinas Foundation), participated in the nomination process for National Artist awards, joined National Book Week exhibits, prepared various position papers on literary publishing, and sat in the National Book Development Board.

Members have done reviews for national and international periodicals, such as ASEAN Theater Journal, Asiaweek, BizNews Asia, Bulawan, Diyaryo Filipino, Filipinas, Filipino Magazin (Filmag), Independent, Journal of Asian Studies, Kinaadman, Manila Chronicle, The Manila Times, Metro Magazine, National Book Review, Philippine Daily Globe, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Graphic, Philippine Journal of Education, Philippine Panorama, Philippine Star, Philippine Studies, Sun Star Weekend, Unitas, and World Literature Today, and for television shows such as Mabuhay: This is Your Wake-up Call.

The Circle received an Award of Recognition from the National Book Development Board in 2004, for its “outstanding dedication and contribution towards the promotion of excellence in the book publishing industry in the Philippines.”

Members of the Manila Critics Circle
Membership in the Circle is strictly by invitation; a unanimous vote is required before anyone is invited to become a member. Current members are: National Artist Virgilio S. Almario, Juaniyo Arcellana, Cirilo F. Bautista, Fr. Miguel A. Bernad, S.J., Isagani R. Cruz, Ruel S. De Vera, Ophelia Alcantara Dimalanta (Chair), Resil B. Mojares, Danton R. Remoto, Soledad S. Reyes, and Alfred A. Yuson. Roger J. Bresnahan, meanwhile, is an honorary member of the MCC.

Former members include Leonidas V. Benesa (died 1984), Doreen G. Fernandez (died 2002), Alfredo Navarro Salanga (died 1988), Arlene Babst-Vokey and Alice Guillermo.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let’s save our hearts

Saving the Earth: The Philippine Experience, 4th edition (ISBN 971-868-6134), edited by Cecile C.A. Balgos, published by PCIJ, available at the Filipinas Heritage Library’s bookshop Libros Filipinos for P170.

At the heart of the Philippines is Marinduque. This heart-shaped island located in the MIMAROPA region, famous for its Moriones Festival, made international news when 1.5 million cubic meters of toxic mine tailings spilled out of Marcopper’s Tapian Pit down to the rivers and into Laylay Bay. It was the worst mining disaster in the country. The toxic sludge brought flash floods smothering villages and killing livestock. It contaminated drinking water and caused long term environmental damage. The 27-kilometer Boac River, choked with mine tailings, ceased to give shelter to marine life and was eventually declared dead.

This is just one of the many environment reports published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and compiled in the book Saving the Earth: The Philippine Experience. For the ancient Greeks, Gaia is Mother Earth, the goddess who gives and nurtures life. In this issue, we feature Filipino women climbers who are also ardent environmentalists; top women illustrators whose gentle hands breathes life to children’s books; and Get Caught Reading campaign endorser Miriam Quiambao.

We are honored to have penman Butch Dalisay encouraging young writers to see the fantastic in the ordinary; and science fiction and fantasy writer Neil Gaiman writing on the importance of imagination and creativity.

Indeed it will take a lot of creativity and imagination to attain development while maintaining environmental health. Let us do our part in saving Mother Earth for saving her means saving our hearts and, ultimately, our lives.

(First published in BOOKWATCH, January - March 2008.)

Frontline Leadership

Frontline Leadership: Stories of 5 Local Chief Executives

By the Ateneo School of Government and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung

Quezon City: ASoG and KAS, 2007. Php 250. ISBN 978-971-92495-2-8

Government is best seen and experienced at the local level. Local government is the front line in the battle to serve the people. Before citizens give their assessment of the national leadership, they first look at how each local chief executive performs and delivers the goods to their constituents.

“Frontline Leadership” features the stories and best practices of local leaders in the real-time management of the local government. Written by several authors, the local executives were presented with their achievements, idiosyncrasies, mistakes, and difficulties to serve the common good. The book painted realistic pictures of Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo, San Fernando City Mayor Mary Jane C. Ortega, Bulacan Governor Josie M. de la Cruz, Surigao del Norte Governor Robert Lyndon Barbers, and an anonymous lady governor in the Visayas.

Ateneo School of Government associate dean and the book’s project director Dr. Dennis T. Gonzalez states in the book’s Afterword, “Our country needs more members of the political and economic elite who will exercise ethical and effective leadership, even at the expense of their family interests, to enable the many families mired in poverty to lift themselves, to equalize opportunity to political and economic advancement, and to strengthen democratic institutions and the political party system.”

Current and future local chief executives can learn much from the hands-on experiences of these leaders. The examples of these fellow Filipinos show that hope for a better Philippines is alive. We should all work hand in hand and pray for more leaders like them in the frontlines of service.

Frontline Leadership is available at both the Rockwell and Loyola Heights offices of the Ateneo School of Government. For inquiries please call 899-7691 loc. 2401/2 or 426-5998, 426-6001 local 4643.

(First published in BOOKWATCH, January - March 2008.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The National Book Awards

(Source: Souvenir Program for the 27th NBA)

Every year since 1982, the Circle has given the National Book Awards to the best books written, designed and published in the Philippines. In addition, the Circle also gives Special Awards to outstanding publishers or publishing projects and Citations for outstanding achievement in special categories. In 1995 and 1996, the awarding ceremonies were telecast over PTV-4. No book written or edited by a member is eligible to win a National Book Award; instead, the Circle gives Members’ Awards to its members who publish books. Trophies for past awards have been designed and donated by Eduardo Castrillo (1981-83), Agnes Arellano (1984-87), Cesare and Jean Marie Syjuco (1989-91), Edgar Doctor (1992), Gino Gonzalez (1993-95), National Artist Napoleon Abueva (1996-99), and Tito Sanchez (2006). This year, the trophies are by young sculptor Glenn Cagandahan.

Early in 2008, the Manila Critics Circle entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Book Development Board (NBDB) to institutionalize the National Book Awards to better honor Philippine publishers and authors.

The move ensures that the yearly awards will continue to recognize the creative works of our talented authors and publishers for many years to come. Beginning with this year’s National Book Awards, both the NBDB and MCC hope to organize more prestigious yearly tributes to those who dedicate their lives to producing quality books that Filipinos could all be proud of.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kuwentong Kutsero, Kuwentong Pilipino

Kuwentong Kutsero ni Epifanio G. Matute.

Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1995. ISBN 971-542-141-5

Mabibili sa Powerbooks at sa Libros Filipinos Bookshop sa halagang Php300. Kahapon (5 Disyembre) bumisita ako sa UP Press Bookstore, Balay Kalinaw, Dagohoy St., UP Diliman, merong book sale at mabibili ang Kuwentong Kutsero sa halagang Php100! Bili na!

(Winner, 1996 National Book Award for Drama.)

Nagiging ganap lamang ang aking gabi matapos akong mapahalakhak habang nagbabasa ng Kuwentong Kutsero. Ibang aliw ang dulot ng mga kabalbalan ni Teban, ang kutsero sa himpapawid at ng maingay na pamilya Doblecarrera.

Isinulat ni Epifanio G. Matute para sa radyo, tanghalan, telebisyon, at pelikula, satirikal na inilalarawan ng Kuwentong Kutsero ang buhay Pinoy noong mga taon makalipas ang ikalawang digmaang pandaigdig. Kabit-kabit ang patutsada sa mga usapin noon tulad ng buhul-buhol na trapik, lubak-lubak na kalye, magastos at palpak na pamahalaan, mga kandidatong puno ng matatamis na pangako, at relihiyong payat sa gawa.

Malaon ng nawala sa ating mga lansangan ang mga kutsero subalit nananatili ang mga kuwento ng buhay, mga kuwento ng Pilipino. Ang bawat aklat ay kuwento ayon sa mga mata ng may-akda. Sa isyung ito, bisitahin ang mga aklat na nagwagi sa ika-26 National Book Awards. Narito ang kuwento ng mga hinaharap ng sector ng Academic Publishing. Mababasa rin ang kuwento ni Karylle, ang bagong tagapagtaguyod ng Get Caught Reading Campaign.

Halina’t magbasa at nang maaliw ng mga aklat na naglalaman ng mga kuwentong Pilipino!

(First published in BOOKWATCH, October-December 2007.)