We have been able to say that we have lived a life we just used to read about in books.
In mid-March of 2020, the entirety of Luzon and parts of Visayas were placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the global threat of the 2019 N-coronavirus (COVID-19). Even if it sounded straight from a futuristic novel, it was real life and we were in total lockdown. No one was allowed to leave the safety of their homes, except for securing their bare necessities during the allowable hours outside curfew.
Additional lockdown restrictions across the country likewise mandated the temporary closure of non-essential shops and businesses, including those in the publishing and creative industries. As a community response to these changes, the same disruption gave way to alternative modes of interactions within the book trade and creative circles, among others, during the COVID-19 quarantine.
The National Book Development Board, as the government agency mandated to support the book development and publishing sector, saw the importance of gathering narratives amidst the pandemic and connecting them to the collective memory and cultural experiences of Filipinos during this extraordinary time.
Though we were also subjected to unprecedented challenges, the realization that our stories continue on while facing a deadly pandemic set in. As long as the world spins, so do our narratives. Through the use of modern technology, we were able to connect with the Frankfurter Buchmesse and the Asian Festival of Children’s Content for a virtual exhibit and participation. We were also able to host more than seven (7) Booklatan sa Bayan Workshops with a total of 133 manuscript drafts produced.
As we remain steadfast in our goals and objectives in lending aid to our stakeholders during such a perilous time, we now look forward to relearning and reworking ourselves to enable a transformation that can allow us to take on more challenges ahead.
To deliver inclusivity and wider accessibility, as well as lifting book quality through local events, projects, policies, subsidies, and international engagements, the NBDB continues to put forth work that shall make a beneficial contribution as we make history right here and now.
JERRY G. TIZON
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR III
Read the full report here