For decades, the lack of enough textbooks has always been a problem that hounded the Department of Education (DepEd). While there are textbooks made and printed for all subjects being offered in public schools, the DepEd is unable to procure enough to provide all students with complete books.
Often, the students are forced to share books or make photocopies so they can have a reference just for themselves.
To help solve this problem and to also address the need for students to stay at home while learning their lessons amid the threat of COVID-19, Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid filed a bill seeking for the conversion of textbooks to e-books for students’ benefit.
“Batid ko na matagal ng problema sa ating mga pampublikong paaralan ang kakulangan sa mga libro at ngayon sa mga module. Mula noon hanggang ngayon, hindi naging 1:1 ang ratio ng pamimigay ng libro o module sa ating mga mag-aaral,” the senator explained.
“Sa panahong ito na delikado ang paglaganap ng COVID-19 virus, mas mainam kung maisalin na lamang sa e-books o digital format ang mga libro para ligtas ang bawat estudyante at magagamit nila ito gaano man nila kadalas kailanganin nang hindi nagmamadali dahil may iba pa silang kaklase na kailangang manghiram ng module o libro.”
To make that possible, Lapid filed Senate Bill No. 1881 which seeks to amend the “Book Publishing Industry Development Act” or Republic Act No. 8047.
Under the proposed bill, publishers of the public school textbook program would have to allow the conversion or scanning of the approved printed materials into e-books or other digital formats, in part or in full.
Then, the DepEd will manage the distribution of these e-books to public school students.
To protect the intellectual property rights of the authors and publishers, the conversion will still be covered by the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines or Republic Act No. 8293.