A freshman lawmaker on Thursday appealed to the private sector to help the government establish libraries in public schools in order to serve as a means to counter the proliferation of disinformation and fake news on the internet.
Speaking at the launch of Bagong Pag-Asa Elementary School’s library, Quezon City First District Rep. Juan Carlos “Arjo” Atayde said that efforts to build public school libraries should be encouraged as “every library we put up is a dam against the tidal wave of disinformation and fake news that litter the internet.”
Atayde lauded the interior design students from SoFA Design Institute, who together with Quezon City officials led by Mayor Joy Belmonte and Bagong Pag-Asa Bgy. Captain Rodolfo Palma, collaborated to build the library, which is inspired by the story and activity book titled “Ignited Souls.”
Libraries are beneficial, explained the solon, as these can help students develop skills such as critical thinking and media literacy, “tools our children need in a world where fake news and disinformation are becoming increasingly common, and threaten to undo the lessons taught in the four walls of the classroom.”
“Nakakatakot at nakakahinayang po na mas naniniwala pa ang mga bata sa nakikita nila sa YouTube o TikTok kaysa sa tinuturo ng ating mga guro.”
The legislator said that in the face of this reality, there have been proposals to tighten regulations for social media and online platforms. However, Atayde stressed that he believes that “libraries, not more laws, are more powerful and effective tools versus disinformation and fake news.”
In addition to helping combat falsehoods online, said the education advocate, libraries are vital as “studies have shown that access to libraries can have a significant impact on a child’s academic success.”
“Students who have access to libraries perform better in school, have higher reading scores, and are more likely to go on to higher education.”