DEPUTY Speaker Rodante Marcoleta has castigated Department of Education officials for their alleged refusal to implement RA 8047, a 25- year-old law that seeks to develop the book publishing industry in the country.
RA 8047 mandates the DECS (now DepEd) to give up its function of publishing and distributing textbooks for elementary and secondary schools and to assist in the phasing in of private sector publishers to take up this responsibility under the supervision of the National Book Development Board (NBDB).
In a Zoom meeting on August 3, 2020, Marcoleta warned DepEd officials anew in their alleged attempt to further circumvent the said law by using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to hastily produce self-learning modules (SLMs) and for facilitating the funding and procurement of said materials.
“I can smell something fishy here”, Marcoleta quipped when asked for specifics.
Per records, last year DepEd also developed self-learning resources (SLR) but the said materials have not been maximized by the schools until today.
Marcoleta suggested that the SLRs be first put into use since millions of funds have already been spent in these and immediately engaged the private publishers in the least possible time in the development of learning materials.
Early this year, Marcoleta filed Resolution No. 5 to investigate, in aid of legislation, DepEd’s alleged continuing violation of RA 8047 by way of actively involving itself in the publication and procurement of books until today, in open defiance of said law which imposes a maximum fine of P700,000, 5-year imprisonment and forfeiture of benefits.
In the earlier hearing conducted, Marcoleta criticized the DepEd for reneging on the objectives of RA 8047.
Marcoleta also traced the alleged intransigence to the poor ranking of the country in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report in which young Filipino students ranked last in Reading and second to the last in Math and Science among 79 countries.