Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Great Book Blockade of 2009.

(image from rusty banana forge)

While listening to Good times on Magic 89.9, i heard Mojo talk about "The Great Book Blcokade of 2009." which is about the taxation of imported books here in the Philippines.

This made me do a thorough research (google search =P ) about the matter and here are some points to ponder:

  • The Philippines is one of the many countries to sign the Florence Agreement, a UN treaty wherein a part (Article I sec 1.a) states that books of any nature are protected from custom tax or any other charges for that matter.
  • Customs Undersecretary Espele Sales contested the agreement above by citing republic act 8047 sec 12. stating that "In the case of tax and duty-free importation of books or raw materials to be used in book publishing, the Board and its duly authorized representatives shall strictly monitor the quality and volume of imported books and materials as well as their distribution and the utilization of the said imported materials", for the lack of comma after the word "books" she was pointing out that only "books used in book publishing" are tax exempted. (see "The Great Book Blcokade of 2009." by Robin Hemley)
  • The above interpretation of the law is a breach of the Florence agreement and by no means should be able to supersede the said UN agreement.
  • All books imported to the Philippines whether for resale or personal use will have a customs tax attached to it.
I really don't understand what would be the benefit of this law to the Filipino people. I find this law counter-productive, and should be abolished or amended as soon as possible.

*Please also read the very informative comments from this blog post (Philippine Genre Stories)
*Kudos to Manuel L Quezon III for the great timeline research here

1 comment:

  1. this law is a complete BS.

    The fact that not many people read and much less buy books right now because they already find it a bit expensive as it is!

    I've read somewhere that the government saws that due to smuggling of these they didn't reach their expected reveniew. Whata*** and who's fault is that? Don't blame the books and bookworms blame the corrupt officials who pockets and accepts bribes.

    People smuggles books now? really that's something new.

    I really really hope that this law will NOT be passed