The House of Representatives, through its committees on Basic Education, and Ways and Means, is set to look into the reported proliferation of foreign published books in government and private elementary and secondary schools, and related violations of existing laws by foreign and local ventures related to education and media.
In House resolution No. 1945 introduced by Sultan Kudarat 2nd district Rep. Horacio P. Suansing, Jr. and Nueva Ecija 1st district Rep. Estrellita B. Suansing, the House has directed the two committees to investigate, in aid of legislation, the reported illegal distribution of foreign published books in the country’s schools and the proliferation of unregistered foreign companies engaged in this issue in violation of existing laws.
The Sultan Kudarat and Nueva Ecija lawmakers said the inquiry should address the threat not only to the educational development of the country, but also issues related to the government’s revenue collection efforts and other legal concerns.
Congressman Suansing and Congresswoman Suansing cited provisions in the Philippines Constitution which stipulate that the ownership and management of mass media, which include books, shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly owned and managed by Filipino citizens.
The proliferation of foreign published books is also prohibited under existing laws, particularly Rep. Act 8047, Presidential Decree No. 1018 of 1976, Rep. Act 7394, and Department of Justice (DOJ) Opinions No. 040, 1998 citing DOJ Opinion No. 24. 1986.
The House resolution noted the reported presence and activities of a foreign company that has allegedly been selling foreign published books and workbooks for students and lesson plans for teachers on basic educations, without acquiring registration or establishing a local partner or counterpart.
Under R.A 8047, the penalties for violations of its provisions include a fine not exceeding P700,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding five years , at the discretion of the Court.