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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau



02 December 2021 07:09:01 PM

The House Special Committee on Creative Industry and Performing Arts chaired by Rep. Christopher De Venecia (4th District, Pangasinan), in an online meeting Thursday, concluded its inquiry into House Resolution 2137, regarding the state of the Philippine publishing industry and other related industries. The discussion focused on local government collaboration, as well as welfare issues of local authors and writers. To address the problems and issues within the publishing industry, the National Book Development Board (NBDB) through Director Ryan Esteban proposed to amend Republic Act 8047 or the “Book Publishing Industry Development Act.” Esteban said that the definition of book and textbook in the law needs to be updated. He said that the local publishing industry has been using the traditional definition of a book for the past 26 years that is based on the old UNESCO 1986 Framework for Cultural Statistics (FCS). Moreover, Esteban stated that the definition of a "book" in the revised 2009 UNESCO FCS now includes electronic or virtual forms of publishing as part of the cultural domain of books and press. He also mentioned that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should oversee the NBDB due to investment, marketing, and other incentives. Meanwhile, Freelance Writers Guild of the Philippines (FWGP) Founder Aimee Morales shared that it is also crucial to have a definition and classification for freelance writers in the country’s labor force. “It is very important to provide a definition for the term freelance writer or freelancer that is satisfactory and acceptable to all stakeholders,” Morales stated. She also said that freelancers often experience unfair payment rates, and that the government needs to set up a more effective, fair and fast means of addressing freelancer complaints. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Assistant Secretary Dominique Rubia-Tutay also highlighted that the pandemic has accelerated the rise of hybrid work and digital careers that need upskilling and retooling. She added that freelance work has its own set of challenges, such as a lack of regularity or income, working conditions, social protection, skill utilization, freedom of association, as well as the right to collective bargaining. The resolution was filed by De Venecia and Rep. Francisco Benitez (3rd District, Negros Occidental).