Photo: Saffy is not amused.
Wonderful news: Your genius government has figured out a way to increase revenue collection! From now on, imported books (every title that is not published locally; nearly all the merchandise in bookstores outside of the Filipiniana section) will be taxed. This means books will become more expensive, and there will probably be a longer wait for new titles.
Until the new Department of Finance guidelines were issued and implemented (or existing laws were reinterpreted) there were no duties on book importation. This isâ€”wasâ€”how books got to be cheaper here than in most other countries (If you ordered books from Amazon and DHL or the post office hit you with taxes, you were screwed). But those days of unfairness are over! From now on book-readers, those elitists who make us feel stupid by choosing to pay attention to a bunch of long words between covers instead of listening to our scintillating thoughts or watching our brilliant telenovelas and game shows, those people who think they’re intellectually superior just because they, like, read and have big vocabulariesâ€”they have to pay! Hurray!
Congratulations to the Finance Department, you’ve really hit on a great way to promote order and development! Cause you know, too many people are reading books as it is, and that’s not good: it makes their brains work, they start questioning the way things are, and before you know it, they’re criticizing the way the government does stuff. It leads to chaos! Tax imported books, make them more expensive so the people who read will read less, and the people who don’t read will be even less inclined to pick up a book. Bravo! Way to keep the people docile and stupid.
Reacting to the imposition of taxes on book imports, the Book Development Association of the Philippines has requested the opinion of Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez. Yay! We’re saved!
(I’m guessing the BDAP was a little distraught when the letter was drafted.)
April 30, 2009
HONORABLE RAUL M. GONZALEZ
Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Dear Secretary Gonzalez:
The book reading public in the country is suddenly jolted when the Department of Finance (DOF) imposed duty on the importation of books through Department Order No. 17-09: Guidelines of Duty-Free Importation of Books, issued on 24 March 2009 by Secretary Margarito B. Teves, published on 12 April 2009 at the Phil. Daily Inquirer and is now being implemented.
We earnestly seek your opinion on said Guidelines because they run counter to Sec. 12 of RA 8047, which provides that â€œIn 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 material as well as their distribution and the utilization of the said imported materials.â€
It is interesting to note that RA 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act of 1995 was co-authored by Secretary Teves when he was a member of the House of Representatives.
Your immediate rendering of opinion on this matter will greatly benefit our reading public and the book industry.
Please find attached a copy of the DOF Guidelines and the position paper of the Book Development Association of the Philippines.
LIRIO P. SANDOVAL
That Kindle is looking good. You think they’ll figure out a way to tax e-books?
Posting the BDAP position paper in Comments below.