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Book bans?

A coalition of academic departments and organizations on literature and culture said the five Filipino language books that were banned by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino for being subversive should instead be read and government should encourage people to read books that “awaken the consciousness” and rouse people to move “toward changing society.”

In a memorandum dated August 9, the KWF ordered one of its units, the Sentro ng Wika at Kultura, to stop printing five Filipino language books that supposedly contained “political, subversive and creative literary works with subliminal ideologies that encourage to fight the government.”

“Instead of threatening the public not to read their books, it’s more appropriate for the government to ask them to read them more,” Tanggol Wika said.

However, while criticizing KWF over the banning of supposedly subversive books, the group on the other hand came to the defense of the KWF as it called out hosts of the Sonshine Media Network Inc. (SMNI) and Lorraine Badoy for accusing the agency of being sympathetic with communists over the publishing of “antigovernment” books.

Tanggol Wika said the SMNI hosts were “even worse than gossips and ‘Mariteses’ by citing flimsy sources of information that are surely incredible and baseless.” The group said it is normal for books to cite from different sources, including works that are considered revolutionary, “but mere citing of such should not be considered as agreement to or sympathy toward those works but as a typical part of the academic and scholarly process of poring through different related literature.”

As a commission with its own charter, the KWF has its own autonomy in its operations and editorial freedom. “No one outside the organization should interfere with the KWF’s publication processes nor should anybody censor and ban the printing and distribution of books published by the KWF,” Tanggol Wika added.

This discussion over the banning of books, where it is criticized by one side while another side is apparently not satisfied and wants even more books banned, shouldn’t even be part of the discourse in a country where citizens supposedly have freedom of thought and should be provided with the education to allow critical thinking.

Isn’t it worrying that we have come to this point?*

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