|AN OUTSIDERS VIEW|
In early 2009, the Department of Finance (DoF) unwisely issued an order for the imposition of duty on imported books. This met with a barrage of criticism from booklovers, booksellers and Unesco. Huh? Yes, that’s correct, because the Philippines was in breach of the Florence Agreement of 1952, which this country signed up to in 1979, under which books may enter signatory-countries free of duty. GMA then told the DoF to back off.
This is the second time this column has dealt with the issue. On the first occasion — Oct. 13, 2009 — I wrote of my frustration when confronted with the dismal reality: The staff at Philpost had never heard of the Florence Agreement, and the Bureau of Customs (BoC), which should have known better, still required them to charge duty of P35 for a packet containing a book or books. After thirty minutes or so, the senior man on duty accepted that he was not going to get P35 from me, and said he would pay it himself.
“Did he make me feel cheap?” I wrote at the time. “Yes, of course it irked me that he had me tagged as a cheapskate rather than a crusader for intellectual freedom, but there was, as I was anxious to assure him, a principle involved.”.... MORE
Source: The Daily Tribune