04 May 2009
Book blockade of 2009
I read this interesting blog by Manuel L. Quezon III (is it Manolo or Manuel?) entitled "The Great Book Blockade of 2009" http://www.quezon.ph/2009/05/04/the-long-view-the-great-book-blockade-of-2009/
I couldn't agree more. By taxing books, it discourages people to read and power up their minds. Maybe this is just another way for the Customs to jack up its collection thereby enjoying the privileges of the Lateral Attrition Law (well we are yet to hear of anybody who has been axed because of poor collection but we always here incentives even if they have engineered some figures). The taxes on books are being collected for self-serving ends. As if we don't know to whose pockets and bank accounts it would land, only a miniscule of it would benefit the poor Filipino.
In doing so, the government has failed to look into the social benefits foregone by taxing books and bookworms. It discourages private individuals (myself included) to enrich themselves of foreign literature and encourages them to resort to e-book piracy on the Internet. We all know the discouraging effects of taxes on all its point of view. It is nothing more but discouraging and deadweight that everyone carries. Giving free basic education and taxing books is but a one-step move and two steps backward act, no wonder our educational system remains in a quandary of all sorts: lacking teachers, classrooms, supplies even students are dropping and resorting to early employment rather than invest more broadening their educational and their productivity possibilities frontiers.
It is so narrow and feeble-minded of these people from the Customs to just base their decision merely on Twilight import volumes alone since it just comprise a small portion of books imported from other countries. Thus explains the high cost of books, not only of Twilight and Harry Potter genre but also those NCLEX, CGFNS and other reviewers (among many others) being used by professionals who fled the country to work and subsequently send dollars to afloat our economy.
A book blockade is no different food a food blockade. How can we feed our minds if the government is doing everything to prevent us from availing these books. We can never fill our shelves and our soul.
The good Undersecretary and the entire Bureau of Customs should start rethinking things over taxes and tariffs imposed on books. There are a lot of ways to boost collection other than taxing people who just wanted to learn and enjoy the world of literary magic. Why have some people stopped using their brains? The Philippine government seems to have an abundance of all sorts, however, unthinkable bureacrats are unscarce, overflowing and bouncing everywhere.