Message of Senator Loren Legarda*
Frankfurt Book Fair
19 October 2016
*Read by National Book Development Board Chair Neni Sta. Romana Cruz
I am deeply honored for having been chosen as the chief delegate of the Frankfurt Book Fair this year. It is, however, with deepest regret that I am not able to join you today and witness this remarkable participation of our country, as it coincides with the deliberations on the 2017 national budget. As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, my presence is very much required in the Senate at this time.
I am proud that the Philippines is once again represented at the Frankfurt Book Fair for the second straight year. I laud the passion and effort of the National Book Development Board and all other groups working hand in hand with it to promote our local publishing industry in the global arena.
The National Statistics Office’s Census of Population and Housing (CPH) in 2010 showed that 97.5 percent or 69.8 million of 71.5 million individuals above 10 years old could read or write. Such significant rate is a great market potential for our publishing industry to further flourish; not to mention that we have been a thriving market for countries such as US and UK for having English as our medium of instruction.
In fact, this digital age has demonstrated Filipinos’ extensive interest on reading and writing when Philippines was ranked as the second largest active group in Wattpad, an online reading platform which serves as a global community for writers and readers.
Despite this, our book industry’s importation still exceeds over exportation. In fact, Philippines ranks at the bottom among countries in Asia-Pacific region in terms of book production.
This only means that there is much opportunity for us in the international community only if we make ourselves visible to them; that is, if have various means to make our written works more available and made known to a wider scope.
Our participation, especially on The Markets: Global Publishing Summit, where we are to present an overview of our country’s book market, gives us a chance not only to stimulate the international community’s interest and attention in our domestic literature but also to generate international partners and investors for the good of our publishing industry and encourage a strengthened and inclusive participation of local publishers.
May this opportunity be fruitful for our local publishing industry and the Filipino nation as a whole. In behalf of the Filipino people, I am beyond grateful for your priceless efforts to push this through for our country.
Thank you very much.