The National Book Development Board believes that the promotion of lifelong learning through readership leads to genuine human development, national poverty reduction, and book industry development in the medium to long terms.
We live in a world of words, words that work and don’t work, words that matter & don’t. Words in books can cross safely and become active beyond the borders of time and space, especially if leaders & policy-makers will continue to adhere to the UNESCO principle & the 1950 Florence Agreement on the free flow of information & knowledge.
Also, words and books that endure and spread are products usually of substantial investments in time, effort & resources on the part of creative persons and entrepreneurs. To develop authorship and the creative sector, the NBDB initiated and guided the enactment into law of the National Book Development Trust Fund to support through annual grants Philippine authorship in science and technology and other learning areas where more Philippine publications are needed.
For the very first set of Trust Fund grants, the NBDB received a total of 24 applications from budding & veteran authors. For our upcoming Book Development Month celebration this November, at least 3 deserving authors will receive grants of a minimum of 200,000 pesos each for submissions under the categories of the English Novel, Health & Wellness, and Environment & Biodiversity including Climate Change Adaptation. As the interest of the Trust Fund grows, a bigger number of grants over a wider set of categories can be given next year.
Like government support for authors, the book industry has improved through the years. The private sector has been the main driver of industry growth. Government has not been & should not be the main driver, but certainly government has the important role of preserving and enhancing the environment for healthy competition and growth in a book market with domestic and foreign players.
Through the years, I have been privileged to witness how the Philippine book industry has grown. With the spread of the digital revolution, I am confident that the fundamentals of our book industry have become solid & strong enough to meet the challenges and to grasp the opportunities of this revolution.
May we see book readership & book development in the coming years flourishing with more Philippine publications in printed & electronic forms that cross the borders of time and space, more books that contribute to lifelong learning, books that help us live with more wisdom, joy, or peace so that, whenever we turn to the book of day-to-day life, we do better in enriching its pages with trustworthy words and meaningful works, words and works that cross the boundaries of ignorance, indifference and intolerance.