Senator Manuel "Lito" Lapid has filed a bill mandating publishers to allow the conversion of public school textbooks to e-books and other digital formats.
Senate Bill No. 1881 seeks to amend the Republic Act No. 8047 or the "Book Publishing Industry Development Act."
“Batid ko na matagal ng problema sa ating mga pampublikong paaralan ang kakulangan sa mga libro at ngayon sa mga module. Mula noon hanggang ngayon, hindi naging 1:1 ang ratio ng pamimigay ng libro o module sa ating mga mag-aaral," Lapid said in a statement on Monday.
"Sa panahong ito na delikado ang paglaganap ng COVID-19 virus, mas mainam kung maisalin na lamang sa e-books o digital format ang mga libro para ligtas ang bawat estudyante at magagamit nila ito gaano man nila kadalas kailanganin nang hindi nagmamadali dahil may iba pa silang kaklase na kailangang manghiram ng module o libro," he added.
Publishers participating in the public school textbook program shall allow the scanning or conversion of their approved materials into e-books and other digital formats in part or in full, according to the proposed measure.
The conversion shall be in compliance with Republic Act No. 8293 or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines to protect the intellectual property rights of the authors and publishers.
The distribution of the e-copies of these textbooks to public school students shall be managed by the Department of Education, the bill states.
Due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school year for basic education students opened last October 5 without face-to-face classes.
Aside from the internet, TV, and radio-based instructions, printed self-learning modules are being distributed to over 24 million learners who enrolled in the K-12 program.
Some students may have to share copies of self-learning modules under the current blended learning mode due to the DepEd's limited funds for printing, an official said last month during a House budget hearing. -- BAP, GMA News