Are Filipino children reading enough books?

July 2, 2019 - 6:28 PM
Reading for children
(Artwork by Interaksyon/Uela Altar-Badayos)

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Give children storybooks for sharing with playmates, read them bedtime tales before sleeping, and expose them to various printed materials at a very young age and they will surely develop a habit to read.

A habit, that is not just one of the foundations for learning, but also a habit with immeasurable benefits.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation noted that children who love to read “are more likely to read better, write better, build their vocabulary, and comprehend more in their reading.” Reading also supports a child’s “emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and social health.”

But a question remains, especially in the Philippines. Are Filipino children reading enough books?

National Book Development Board Chairman Neni Sta. Romana Cruz wrote, “Something very basic we have not provided our young are books and other materials to nurture their intellectual growth. In countries that are more aware of what the needs of a livable community are, public libraries are a mainstay.”

It’s easy to say then that countless Filipino children still don’t have access to books, especially those in underprivileged, remote and conflicted areas across the country.

In one of its efforts to bring Filipino kids closer to books, NBDB is holding the Children’s Book Summit on July 17.

Mark the date and join NBDB as we explore ways to improve capabilities of stakeholders in the Children's Book Industry.

Posted by National Book Development Board – Philippines on Monday, June 17, 2019


The National Children’s Books Day is also happening on July 20 in Baguio City, to be organized by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People, an NGO committed to the development of children’s literature in the Philippines.


Book donations by private organizations are also significant. Cruz noted, “. . . book donations continue to be encouraged even as there is now more careful curating of such donations—not just any book or workbook or activity books, but storybooks to truly allow readers to expand their world of thought and imagination.”

MoneyGram Foundation, which aims to empower the school-aged youth through educational initiatives, launched its latest effort in the country: one that will give thousands and thousands of books to Filipino children.

Called “Inspiring Minds with the Gift of Literacy,” this initiative will provide 50,000 new books and 20 mobile “MoneyGram Gift Carts” to 100 schools in the Philippines over two years. This is in partnership with The Asia Foundation in the Philippines, which will receive a $50,000 grant.

The books, valued at $1.5 million, will directly benefit more than 500,000 students and teachers across underserved and rural Filipino communities. Over the next two years, four major events will be held at five schools without traditional libraries.

The first one took place at the Herminigildo Atienza Elementary School in Baseco, Manila with a book donation.

“We have books and we are very happy to distribute (these) together with your school principal, with the Department of Education, and with our friends from MoneyGram. So I hope that you enjoy them, I hope that you read them, I hope that you take good care of them—because books contain knowledge, books contain information which is key to a bigger and better future,” said Sam Chittick, country representative for The Asia Foundation, to the student recipients of the books.

The public school was visited by the new Library on Wheels.

“This year besides giving out the books, we have invented a wheel cart. So you can see here, this wheel cart is mobile.  We have created these to go around the country so we could reach out to more children,” said Sabrina Chan, marketing lead for MoneyGram International.

Also present at the event were Moneygram Country Manager Alex Lim, and MoneyGram Celebrity Ambassador Robin Padilla, who is an education advocate himself.


To know more about the MoneyGram Foundation’s efforts, visit