In a special board meeting held on February 18, 2012, the National Book Development Board resolved to amend its Vision and Mission statements to focus on an aspect of book development that requires equal attention: the promotion of excellence and ethical practices within the book publishing industry.
The call to adhere to ethical business practices is not only timely, but necessary, as the public is so inundated with news about graft and corrupt practices that it is in danger of becoming inured. This should not be the case, especially when it comes to books.
Though no concrete evidence has ever surfaced to prove the existence of unethical business practices within the book industry, the Board recognizes the prevalence of these practices, which have been brought about by cutthroat competition within the industry itself. Unfortunately, these practices happen in the sale of books both in the public and private sectors.
The NBDB strongly urges members of the industry, as well as schools, to police their own ranks and to work with government in curbing these unethical practices. The Board feels that this is particularly crucial today because children and young adult Filipinos are exposed, through various media, to examples of unethical practices.
The NBDB would like to remind everyone who forms part of the book publishing industry that the Declaration of Policy found in Republic Act 8047, the law that created the NBDB, states that the book industry has a significant role to play in national development and, as such, it is different from all other industries. This is precisely the reason it receives significant support from government.
The Declaration of Policy also states that books, which are its products, are instrumental to the citizenry's intellectual, technical and cultural development - the basic social foundation for the country's economic and social growth. The NBDB Board hopes that all who comprise this industry should play their part in creating excellent and affordable books in an ethical environment that truly contributes to national development.
The new NBDB board is chaired by Flor Marie Sta. Romana Cruz. Ms. Sta. Romana Cruz is a prizewinning writer of children's literature and an essayist. She has a column in one of the leading national dailies. She tackles issues dealing with education, literacy and literature.