Wednesday, June 17, 2009


What a way to open our schoolyear!
Bookworms, we have all the reasons to celebrate since last March 24.
Malacañang approved the elimination of taxes on imported books “to ensure more public access to books and educational materials.”
The President directed Sec. Margarito Teves of Finance to revoke the order that imposes duty on book importation, or its Department Order 17-09!
Sec. Teves – who was then a lawmaker during the 9th Congress when the Republic Act 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act was enacted – said he would comply.
But he made it clear that “the revenue generation was not the main reason for the import duties but to clarify regulations on book imports as provided by the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.”
So what could be the rationale?
Everything became water under the bridge after the DOF listened to the points and counterpoints shared by the National Book Development Board (NBDB) with the Book Development Association of the Philippines (BDAP), United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco) Philippines, and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
And perhaps the decision was made after the DOF recognized all the violent reactions from print, broadcast, and other alternative media.
After air shipments of books were stopped by the Bureau of Customs last January 26, the Examiner (who told the importer that because such books as Stephenie Meyer's Twilight “were not educational they were subject to duty”), the Undersecretary (who made the Memorandum on Clarificatory Guidelines on Duty Free Importation of Books) became the butt of jests and jeerings, from blogs to barber shops.
Not excluded was Sec. Teves who issued D.O.17-09 last March 24.
According to him, the order's goal was simply “to remove discretion among customs officers, increase transparency, and improve accountability in the duty-free importation of books."
Anyway, let bygones be bygones.
The thing is, we have to move on, in encouraging reading, especially among the young.Last summer, for instance, we met a lot of them hungry and thirsty for books.
First, during 6th Romblon Discussion List-CLEAR (Cultural, Livelihood, Education Assistance for Romblon) Writing Workshop in Sibale, Romblon last March 27-29 – we gathered from the 20 writing fellows from 17 towns of Romblon that they can write well in Asi, Unhan, and Ini -- their main languages – but where would they publish their works?
The same lesson was learned from 2nd Cordillera Creative Writing Workshop St. Mary's School in Sagada, Mountain Province last April 28, however, they have University of the Philippines Baguio's Dean Elizabeth Calinawagan of the College of Arts and Communications who had been continuing its Summer Arts Program, fervent in her desire to publish books after localizing workshops in the various Cordillera provinces speaking different languages like Kalinga, Ifugao, Bontoc in the Mountain Province, Tinggian in Abra, Adasen in Apayao, and Pangasinan -- plus other languages in Region II such as Ibanag, Itawis, Gaddang, Yogad in Isabela, Ilongot in Nueva Vizcaya, Ivatan in Batanes, to name a few.
Uswag Kaakiang Basudeno, for its part, was fortunate to have Engr. Silverio Quinones III as their municipal mayor since they can get support from its local government in financing the Youth Cultural Encampment on Citizenship Building and Good Governance Sangguniang Kabataan Municipal Federation of Basud, Camarines Norte last May 14-17.
Nonetheless, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts should have more Commissioners like Elmar Ingles from the NCCA Subcommission on Cultural Dissemination who had been tirelessly promoting the Millennium Development Goals through arts and culture with great help from artists Jed Balsamo, Joey Baquiran, Novy Bereber, Salvador Ching, Terence Guillermo, among others, who are all result-oriented.
For example, after Culture-Based Good Governance Training for Local Government Units and Sangguniang Kabataan Officials of Quezon Province project with Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Quezon's Committee on Culture, Arts and Tourism under Board Member Alona V. Obispo, Commissioner Ingles was instrumental in the formation of Busilaq or Buklurang Sining ng Lalawigan ng Quezon. Its president, Rowelito Martinez of the Atimonan National Comprehensive High School, and other officers were assisted by the Department of Education's Schools Division of Quezon Superintendent Gloria Potes and Education Supervisor (Filipino) in Elementary Joseph Jarasa in fulfilling its very first dream, that is, conducting a four-day seminar/workshop in Gumaca National High School last May 25-28.
Though they may not have the state-of-the-art equipment provided, say, by Ateneo de Manila University High School during their search for Filipino Character last May 13 or by De La Salle Green Hills when they sponsored the Paggamit ng Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Pagtuturo ng Kasaysayan last May 25 – all the aforementioned groups based in the community and school were able to prove one point: Philippines' got talent!
Teachers and students alike, sad to say, are strangers to frigates like books!
Due to the prohibitive aspect of availing them, there is a response to the growing concern over the lack of relevant and enjoyable reading materials available in venues of state-funded early education. In order to build relationships between deserving donees and appropriate donor organizations, Adarna House, through its revised Libro Mo, Libro Ko program, will serve as liaison and agent for the two parties. Now, Adarna House is calling for nominations and partners in relation to its revised Libro Mo , Libro Ko program. The winning nominated institution will receive educational reading materials from Adarna House and a partner donor. Nominees may be a daycare center, a public elementary school, or a barangay reading center. Please read through the complete nomination guidelines at or e-mail for inquiries.
By the way, the Philippine Board on Books for Young People will award the 2009 PBBY-Alcala Prize to Ferdinand Guevara for his digital-3D interpretation of Ang Higante Sa Loob ng Aming Bahay, the 2009 PBBY-Salanga Prize winner, by Raymund Garlitos. Currently working as a 3D animator at Thaumatrope Animation, Guevarra gave a contemporary edge to his illustrations by rendering them in 3D. With his use of such applications such as Maya and Zbrush, he merged the digital world with the printed word. Ferdinand Guevara is not a newbie to the PBBY-Alcala Prize nor to children’s book illustration. In 1996, he won for his illustrations for Ang Itim na Kuting, by Natasha Vizcarra. He also illustrated Ang Makapangyarihang Kyutiks ni Mama by Rene Villanueva in 2002. Three other artists bagged honorable mentions at this year’s contest: Jomar G. Rivera, Maurice Oliver B. Risulmi and Christian Oliver Ang Cruz. The PBBY-Alcala winners shall be awarded at the National Children’s Book Day (NCBD) celebration on July 21, 2009. Non-winning entries may be claimed no later than May 31, 2009 at the PBBY Secretariat. For inquiries about the contest, contact the PBBY Secretariat at telephone number 372-3548 loc. 105 or email address
Once a boy asks God.
BOY: Is it wrong to sleep with a girl before marriage?
GOD: No it is not. But the problem is. You guys don't sleep.
It is amazing to realized that living in simplicity gives true contentment. We go as we come to this world. In the end, nothing is ours to keep.
So let us share what we have. Smiles, knowledge, hugs, good words, time, love.
Love more. Hate less. Ignore critics. Love life.

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