Opening Message: Philippine Book Festival – Lalang-Banwa

August 18, 2023


Philippine Book Festival – Lalang-Banwa: Opening Ceremony
August 2023|8:00 AM |SMX, Davao

Good day to everyone!
Maayong adlaw sa tanan!

We are gathered here today for the 2nd leg of the Philippine Book Festival here in Davao as we all share an appreciation for literature and creativity. I am as excited as you are to once again revel in the magic of the written word and the flights of human imagination.

As your four-term Senator who is deeply dedicated and committed to the promotion of education and literacy, I recommit myself to fully supporting this very important event that instills among our young a lifelong love for learning. It is an honor to be here in the gathering of literary enthusiasts, authors, publishers, and readers, who have all come together to celebrate and promote a culture of reading in our country.

As vessels of knowledge, books can inspire, educate, promote critical thinking, and awaken the dormant creativity within people. They hold within their pages a world of information and insights waiting to be discovered, explored, and embraced that we might raise the quality of our people’s lives.

I have consistently proposed measures and championed causes that seek to help our nation recognize the intrinsic worth of reading. Relatedly, I have tirelessly advocated for the establishment and upgrading of libraries and their facilities within communities, ensuring that Filipinos are granted unfettered access to the vast reservoir of knowledge and creativity in thousands of books written by Filipinos for Filipinos.

I shall continue to promote an awareness of our learning poverty as it is crucial for the improvement of the education sector. By highlighting this issue, we can draw attention to the urgent need to once and for all address the low reading ability and comprehension of children. This goes beyond mere access to schooling, this is giving every child access to effective learning opportunities for them to reach their full potential.

We are grateful to the National Book Development Board for this Book Festival, a platform different from other book fairs, where Filipino authors can showcase their creativity and talent, connect with as many readers as possible, and enrich the literary landscape of our country by encouraging meaningful discussions, book launches, book signings, workshops, exhibits, storytelling, and more. As such, this is a gateway for recognizing the literary contributions of our Filipino creatives and professionals.

Our talented authors and writers, visionary publishers, skilled editors and book designers, and illustrators, all play a vital role in our creative industry. This Bookfest also serves as a significant catalyst in the implementation of Republic Act No. 11904, or the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act, which I proudly co-authored in the previous Congress.

It is heartwarming to witness the commitment demonstrated not only by the present administration in pushing forward the progress of this sector, but also by various agencies, organizations, and our fellow Filipinos who wholeheartedly share the same passion.

Through this, we also want to educate, inform, and inspire people about our culture, so that we will appreciate more who we are and what we can do as Filipinos. This has always been at the heart of my missions in life. This festival, that showcases the outstanding works of our very own authors, will ignite a renewed interest in the diverse richness of our literature and foster the growth of the publishing industry within our country.

We hope to create a healthy and sustainable literary ecosystem that propels the Philippines further in the fields of literature and publishing. We believe the only way to teach a nation to read is to let its people read. The access therefore to good and great books is crucial. They are the way to genuinely build a love for them and a culture of reading.

Thank you very much!
Salamat kaayo!
Isang luntiang Pilipinas sa ating lahat!