Speech of Ms. Rosario Bella Guzman, Executive Director of IBON Foundation, Inc. during the Book Signing at the College of Nursing Seminar Room, University of the Philippines-Manila, on August 18, 2004.
Good afternoon fellow educators and fellow students, Dr. Edberto Villegas and Ms. Ninotchka Rosca.
Probably many of you are not aware that besides being a collator and propagator of socio-economic data, IBON is also an international publisher; that besides being a producer of textbooks for grade schools and high schools, IBON also publishes a wide range of thought-provoking non-fiction subjects, from the conspiracy theory of 9/11 to genetically modified organisms to the biography of Tressell.
We are the Philippine publisher and distributor of the London-based ZED Books, which is known for its progressive titles and authors and globalization issues; the Canada-based Global Outlook, which among other things, struggles against post-modernism in the academe; and Third World Network, which is based in Malaysia; aside from other international books and authors. IBON Books, our international publishing arm, now has 197 outlets nationwide and has recently become a member of the Book Exporters Association of the Philippines.
We have indeed taken the challenge of the information age but mainly with the purpose of debunking the myths of globalization and asserting that the real information emanates from the people and must be brought back to them to be used in empowerment and emancipation.
Why publish a book on Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, you might ask?
Upon receiving the promotional postcard, IBON already had a keen interest to woo Open Hand, the main publisher based in the U.S. to grant IBON the Philippine publishing rights. We have two reasons.
One, we are probably more excited now in publishing this book than when we did the book authored by Fidel Castro, because. Prof. Joema Sison, as Open Hand main man Richard Koritz notes, is the most important Filipino revolutionary leader of the 20th century, and allow me to strike out the word ‘Filipino’ if only to illustrate that Prof. Joema is probably one of the most important revolutionaries of modern times, that indeed he is at home in the world. We, as Filipino, internationally lauded for our courage (what with the first revolution in Asia, people power, etc.) have the responsibility to clarify the ideals that people such as Prof. Sison have continued to fight for especially in this age of globalization and war where imperialists have deliberately muddled the struggle for national sovereignty and freedom with the issue of terrorism.
Two, we are publishing this because it is Ninotchka Rosca as much as it is Joma. We are proud to have among our titles a book authored by the internationally acclaimed Ms. Ninotchka Rosca and honored to sponsor the Philippine launch and book signing events such as this.
The otherwise snob mainstream bookstores cannot resist Ninotchka Rosca, and let me tell you a short story. National Book Store and Powerbooks are our most famous outlets. Admittedly these big books stores are difficult to penetrate and it is not always easy to make them sponsor IBON events such as book signing and other promos. A friend of mine, a manager of National Book Store and close to the marketing manager of PowerBooks, quips: Why don’t you propose a cooking demo?
When we got the Philippine publishing rights to Ninotchka Rosca’s book,
I texted my friend: How about a book signing by Ninotchka Rosca? My friend,
a graduate of broadcast communication at U.P. and totally apolitical,
texted back: That would be great!
Weeks after closing the deal with Powerbooks, headline news was all about the terrorist listing again – we were anxious that PowerBooks would change their minds and cancel the event, but the event will push through tomorrow, August 19. Apparently, the PowerBooks people from the beginning have focused on the fact that it is Ninotchka Rosca.
IBON would like to thank the Development Studies Program of U.P. Manila for sponsoring this soft launch and book signing. Thanks to the College of Nursing for hosting.
Thank you, buy the book, read it, treasure it.