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Message: Philippine Reception – Frankfurt Book Fair 2018

October 13, 2018

Message of Senator Loren Legarda*

Philippine Reception – Frankfurt Book Fair 2018

11 October 2018 | Philippine Pavilion, FBF 2018

*Message was delivered by Consul General Evelyn Garcia, Philippine Consulate General in Frankfurt

How do we nurture passion for reading?

In the world’s largest international trade fair for the book publishing industry, we are surrounded by tons of books that we could not read in our lifetime, yet it excites us to see what titles could be a good read.

Reading enriches the mind, as well as the heart and spirit. It enriches vocabulary, imagination, critical thinking; at the same time, it entertains, inspires and influences. For the Philippines, a country that was under colonial rule for several centuries, we know the importance of books and how those written by Dr. Jose Rizal and other Filipinos of his time, were vital instruments of our independence.

In this era of social media, is there still interest in reading? The National Book Development Board (NBDB) 2017 readership survey provided promising results.

The survey found that majority of Filipinos—96% of youth and 94% of adult respondents—enjoyed reading, and that more than 40% of Filipinos read to expand their current knowledge.

I believe it is not hard to encourage Filipinos to read if there are good, interesting books available to them. NBDB Chair Neni Sta. Romana Cruz said herself that she was ecstatic over the unusually large opening day crowd at the 39th Manila International Book Fair last September even as Typhoon Ompong brought heavy rains that day.

Our participation in the Frankfurt Book Fair is both an effort to further encourage reading among Filipinos, as well as promote our publishing industry and showcase the talents of our Filipino writers and the gems of Filipino literature to the world.

I laud the passion and effort of the National Book Development Board, together with its partners and supporters, to promote our local publishing industry in the global arena. That is why I did not think twice in giving my full support for our participation in the Frankfurt Book Fair when it was presented to me for budget allocation.

I am also a firm believer that we must strengthen cultural diplomacy with other nations and our participation here is a way of cultural engagement through our books. We need to sustain this presence.

Thus, I am glad that the NBDB has created a roadmap to promote Philippine book publishing to the international book trade with the aim of being a Guest of Honor (GOH) country by the year 2022 or beyond.

Being a GOH country of the Frankfurt Book Fair would be a major feat and would greatly benefit the local book publishing industry as we would be the highlight of the fair. Let us all work together to make this happen. We need to be visible and make our presence not only felt but stronger.

Again, congratulations to the NBDB and the whole Philippine delegation. Thank you for your efforts to push this through for our country. Let us push even further to nurture Filipinos’ passion for reading.

Thank you very much.