“Pakinggan nyo naman po si Ninong Lirio!”    – docgelo & nurse tina.

I only get to read broadsheets – Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star and sometimes  Philippine Daily Inquirer once a week. It’s a part of my Sunday morning habit while enjoying a cup of coffee.  And today’s news included an entire page of an open letter address to the president of the country. Such appeals are no longer new, I pass on them often, but this one.  It caught my attention because the person who wrote the letter was a second-degree relative who also stood as one of our sponsors in our wedding.


Mr. Lirio P. Sandoval,  the President of BDAP/ Book Development Association of the Philippines, is appealing with his colleagues to greatest local  authority 0f the land and her other loyal  officials for almost a month now, in order to veto help them withdraw the imposition of tax to imported books as directed by Department of Finance for this will surely diminish the interests of the reading public. 

This Sunday’s paper open letter to PGMA, “an appeal to withdraw the Department of Finance Department Order 17-09 which imposes duty on the importation of books. Mr. Sandoval and his colleagues believe that the Order violates two distinguished prevailing acts : an international treaty -the Florence Agreement, and R.A. 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act.” 

And I quote “The Florence Agreement, of which the Philippines is a signatory since 1952, has for its main objective the free flow of information among contracting states. The Florence Agreement Guide also expressly states that “Under the Agreement, books, newspapers, periodicals, and many other categories of printed matter are GUARANTEE DUTY-FREE ENTRY”.

Here I’m posting an earlier letter of  Mr. Sandoval with the same appeal sourced from (CLICK) HERE.

BDAP Letter to Secretary of Justice

April 30, 2009

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 “In 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.”

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.

Respectfully yours,


I know little of laws, and  it’s not an excuse. What I only understand of the situation is whenever imported books will be withhold in customs for failing to pay newly imposed taxes, the common readers will be are robbed of the opportunity of greater knowledge acquisition. The appeal was only for CONTINUED DUTY-FREE IMPORTATION OF BOOKS.  end of story.

BUT- Why impose taxes on imported books?

Is it the most intelligent way of recovering “lost” revenues ? Huh ?  

Enlighten me please, Madame/Sir.


7 thoughts on “ONE FOR THE BOOKS

  1. Good foreign books are already expensive. A lot of people nowadays cannot even bring themselves to open a book. And now they’re taxing it? I don’t think they understand how it will negatively impact the intellectual growth of the public, and the nation as a whole. Why do they come with these really absurd taxes?

  2. @ Sidney – the idea was so genius that people will less read books, especially the good ones thus will no longer be abreast with knowledge so they would not know when the government officials are already getting up on them. how clever isn’t it?

    @ Aubrey – perhaps the officials who created that order to tax foreign books are so threaten to produce more young promising geniuses like you Ms. Aubrey Morla (4TH PLACER, Nursing Licensure Exam NOV 2008, one of our reviewees in Allgen).

  3. Hindi naman po Sir Gelo. 🙂 But thank you.

    This is really funny: “thus will no longer be abreast with knowledge so they would not know when the government officials are already getting up on them.”

    A highly likely conspiracy theory. 🙂

  4. There is an email going around about this subject. I think the custom officials started thinking of imposing tax on imported books because of the success of the book Twilight; they want part of it…sorry to say that this is a typical crab mentality. Not sure how true but i also heard that custom officials are rewarded based on the number of duties they are able to collect? sana di lang mapunta sa mga bulsa nila ang pera. 😦

    1. Ms. Nance! Thanks for revisiting my blog! It’s a pleasure po.
      You’re so right in saying that crab mentality and corruption still exist here.
      These two things keep holding the country from much-deserved progress (sigh!).

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