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SENATOR Juan Edgardo “Sonny” M. Angara is using the Department of Education’s “blended learning” to push for the approval of his bill seeking to strengthen the Philippine public library system.

The proposed piece of legislation aims to ensure that public libraries and barangay reading centers are continuously updated to include the latest computer and electronic library technology.

Angara said the country’s public libraries and village reading centers should have the latest electronic library system for storing, cataloguing and filing of data and materials.

He said the National Library, in coordination with local government units (LGUs), ought to support these libraries and reading centers

Angara’s bill calls for an increase in the annual budget of the National Library by P500 million a year until all cities and municipalities across the country are provided and have full access to electronic library facilities.

A law graduate of the prestigious Harvard University, Angara timed the filing of Senate Bill (SB) 1879 to take advantage of the publicity over the many problems confronting the DepEd-decreed “blended learning.”

“Blended or hybrid learning” is a fusion of online distant learning and in-person delivery of printed materials to the residences of students or learners, who don’t have internet access in the comfort of their homes.​

The boyish-looking Angara said that public libraries and village reading centers should be tapped to provide distance learning resources to students, but he noted that “I don’t think we are fully utilizing our public libraries.”

Angara attributed this to the lack of useful resources that students need these days. “Everything is shifting towards digital and libraries should do the same if they want to remain relevant and useful to the public,” he said.

Certainly, SB 1879 deserves the support of all members of Congress and the rest of the Filipinos.