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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau



21 October 2021 08:33:53 PM

The House Special Committee on Creative Industry and Performing Arts chaired by Rep. Christopher De Venecia (4th District, Pangasinan) on Thursday, resumed its inquiry into the state of the Philippine publishing industry and other related industries based on House Resolution 2137. In his opening remarks, De Venecia said that with the proliferation of digital-based reading materials, publishers and authors still have to consider a reputation for quality, protection of intellectual property rights and from adverse regulations, as well as government support. To promote Philippine literature and provide institutional support for local authors and publishers, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Eduardo Martin Meñez said they conducted overseas publication of books, translation of Filipino books for foreign markets, partnership with foreign publishing houses, hosting of book launches, and participation in book fairs. Department of Trade and Industry – Competitiveness and Innovations Group (DTI-CIG) Technical Staff Ivan Bernardo reported that the PPM industry already has pre-existing problems prior to the pandemic. He said that according to the Media Ownership Monitor (MOM), only 22 percent of Filipinos today read newspapers and prefer to get their news from alternative sources. Other issues that the DTI observed in the local PPM industry included the lack of technical workers, reliance on imported paper, stagnant readership of non-school books, and poor global distribution. Meanwhile, according to United Print Media Group (UPMG) President Barbie Atienza, the Print Media is already in critical condition and desperately needs government assistance. He said that fewer publications lead to: 1) less access and awareness of current events, 2) the proliferation of fake news, 3) decline in professional and responsible journalism, and 4) less interest in reading and writing. Atienza hoped that Congress would also pass legislation to provide VAT exemptions for purchases of paper and ink, as well as for advertisers purchasing ads. He also recommended the inclusion of news and current affairs subjects in primary, secondary and tertiary education. National Book Development Board (NBDB) Chairman Dante “Klink” Ang II also mentioned that promoting the book publishing industry would result in more job opportunities and higher contributions to the economy. The panel also touched on intellectual property issues but plans to hold a separate meeting to go over them in depth. HR 2137 was authored by De Venecia and Rep. Francisco Benitez (3rd District, Negros Occidental).