A distinguished professor at the University of the Philippines-Diliman and a Palanca Awards Hall of Famer urges the government to allocate more resources to the country’s public libraries to enable more Filipinos to access the students.
“The country’s national budget should dispense more resources to our libraries to enable Filipinos, especially our marginalized countrymen to have access to quality books,” Dr. Eugene Evasco told the BusinessMirror on the sidelines of the recently concluded Manila International Book Fair held at the SMX Convention Center.
“We are a nation deprived of an opportunity to read,” he added.
On the issue of ebooks and real books, Evasco prefers the latter because a reader can develop a stronger bond, appreciation, and interest when reading a real book. Meanwhile, he said reading e-books has a disadvantage for him because his vision was affected because of too much exposure to the blue light emitted by the tablets.
Evasco described 2023 as a prolific year for him as he was able to write several children’s books under Vibal Publishing. “I had to comply with the deadline of the publishers,” he chuckled.
Evasco, a product of the University of the Philippines, said he is quite glad because the quality of his Chikiting Anthology Books came out hardbound which shows their efforts and creativity. Right now, Evasco described he is in his mentoring stage sharing his wealth of experience with the youth. Although he prefers writing to teaching, Evasco pointed out that the latter sustains his writing because it is his source of income and also provides the impetus to guide the younger writers.
Evasco, who teaches Creative Writing in Filipino at the University of the Philippines, said the country should tackle the fiscal issues facing the publishing industry such as the binding, quality, and pricing. “Instead of producing low-quality books, the Philippines should produce high-quality books to arouse the children’s curiosity and interests of the Filipino children to become successful readers when they read several times the books they liked to read,” Evasco pointed out.
Evasco said he wants to dispel the popular belief that the Philippines is not a nation of readers. “Perhaps, the decline in reading was caused by the pandemic and was exacerbated by online learning.”
“I’d like to think a lot of Filipinos were deprived of the opportunity to read books as our public libraries have also always experienced a dearth of books and other reading materials.