A BICOLANO lawmaker on Tuesday sought the swift approval of his measure that will overhaul the “Book Publishing Industry Development Act” (BPIDA) in order to mandate the scanning or conversion into electronic copies and other digital formats of all textbooks, most especially amid the current shift to blended or distance learning this pandemic season.
Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte said his proposal under House Bill (HB) 8020 requiring the digitization of all contents used by publishers participating in the Public School Textbook Program (PSTP) will address the recurring shortage of printed modules in public schools.
“It is no secret that textbooks in public elementary and high schools are limited in number and, as result, our students are forced to share or borrow from one another,” Villafuerte said.
“This difficulty is even more evident in the time of COVID-19 when there is a shift to blended or distance learning. The sharing of materials among groups of students still exists because of the shortage of printed modules,” Villafuerte added.
The Bicolano lawmaker said requiring the digital reproduction of textbooks will allow students to have a copy or access to the contents of these learning materials in electronic format without the need for them to borrow from, or share resource materials with, their classmates.
To protect the intellectual property rights of both the authors and publishers of the textbook, Villafuerte said the implementation of the scanning or conversion must comply with the provisions of Republic Act (RA) No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.
He said the e-books and digital format copies of the textbooks shall also be made available and accessible to all public school students “in a manner deemed appropriate and reasonable by the Department of Education (DepEd).”
Villafuerte has been a staunch advocate of digital transformation in the Congress even before the Covid-19 contagion struck the country and the rest of the world at the onset of 2020.
He, for one, has filed HB 1248 on E-Governance, which seeks to establish a contactless, electronic-based system of services in all government offices and state-run corporations to put flesh into President Duterte’s pitch in his latest State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) to do away with paper-based official transactions and physical queueing in government offices in the midst of the pandemic.