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Starweek Magazine

A day of letters and hope

Ida Anita Q. del Mundo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Reading became synonymous with hope on Nov. 27, as the country celebrated Araw ng Pag(b)asa, a project that fittingly shares the same date as the birth anniversary of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

“This program draws inspiration from the late Sen. Ninoy Aquino, a man who deeply believed that there is great value in reading,” says Rep. Jorge Banal, the main proponent of the advocacy.

“His many years in solitary confinement during the Martial Law years were spent reading. His constant companions were letters from home and his books, which gave him the strength and hope to endure even the darkest of days. That is why Araw ng Pag(b)asa coincides with the birth anniversary of Senator Ninoy, a man whose fateful homecoming shaped our nation’s history – dahil hindi lang buhay ang kanyang ibinigay, kundi pag-asa (he did not only give his life, he gave hope).”

An annual reading advocacy, then councilor Banal started Araw ng Pag(b)asa in 2008 as a district initiative in the third district of Quezon City. The following year, the project became a citywide campaign, with storytelling sessions about historical personalities and Filipino heritage in daycare centers, schools, hospitals and offices around Quezon City.

In 2011, the Department of Education recognized the project by including it as the culminating activity for National Reading Month, which is likewise celebrated in November. A few years later, in 2013, Araw ng Pag(b)asa was signed into law by President Aquino as Republic Act 10556.

Throughout the years, guest storytellers during the Araw ng Pag(b)asa have included Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Rep. Leni Robredo and even President Aquino himself in 2012.

Leading up to the Araw ng Pag(b)asa 2015, the North Wing of the House of Representatives hosted a photo gallery featuring the timeline of Araw ng Pag(b)asa and Istorya ng Pag-asa, which showcase stories of hope of various people from different walks of life. Organizers plan to bring the exhibit to other venues as well, sharing the stories of hope with more and more people around the country.

On Araw ng Pag(b)asa, simultaneous reading and storytelling sessions were held nationwide in all day-care centers, elementary schools and high schools.

Reading Corners and the Department of Education’s kaREADton were launched in hospitals nationwide with the support of thousands of volunteers. During the launch, guest readers conducted story telling sessions and bedside reading with sick children. Organizers believe that through books and reading activities, sick children’s hospital stays will become less stressful.

Banal says, “Araw ng Pag(b)asa strives to promote reading and literacy by upholding our heritage and values through the lives of eminent Filipinos; it is as much about reading as it is about hope.”

vuukle comment

ACIRC

AQUINO JR.

ARAW

ASA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

EDUCATION SECRETARY ARMIN LUISTRO

JORGE BANAL

PAG

PRESIDENT AQUINO

QUEZON CITY

READING

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