Bureau of Customs: The Bane of our Progress
May 25, 2009 3 Comments
I know that most of you has now heard of the “Book Blockade” where our dear Finance Undersecretary Espele Sales has realized that for a freaking half-a-century, everyone has misinterpreted the Florence Agreement and that she alone after all those time got it right. With her interpretation, only books “used in book publishing” were tax-exempt. They added that if we want a book to be tax-exempt, it should be in DECS list of educational books. If not, then too bad. So of course, more taxes means higher prices for imported books.
It is also common knowledge that if you want to buy cheap (like up to 50% cheaper) electronic products, you’d have to go to Singapore or Hong Kong. In fact, it is actually much cheaper to buy tickets to go to Singapore, buy a Laptop and Mobile phone, and go back here than buying the 2 devices of the same model here. If you ask the retailers about why the price is high, most of them blames one thing. High customs due.
Both cases shows that we have been purchasing imported goods at a higher price, compared to some of our fellow south-east Asian nation, because of our Bureau of Customs. Our government has been so proud of our growing IT industry and takes credit for it, but not only were they no help, they were even a hurdle. IT Books are already expensive, ranging from at least 400 pesos up to 2,000 pesos and that is before Sales’ interpretation of the Florence Agreement. Imagine how much it would cost if it wouldn’t make the DECS’ list of educational books.
The Bureau has 2 things for their defense. One is that the government needs the revenue. Two, they help promotes purchasing of locally made products. On the first reason, except for the rampant corruption in this administration, I have nothing against it. On the second reason, well, I have a few things to say. First of all, we don’t publish IT books, if we do, I have not seen one. We also do not make laptops and cellphones and other electronic gadgets. In my opinion, if we are importing items that has no locally made counterpart, then we should be thankful for getting them and not burden them with heavier taxes. Secondly, we are in the internet age, preventing us from getting imported books doesn’t result to us buying locally made books. We would buy the books that we want, whether it’s local or imported. And if we can’t get them from a bookstore then we’ll buy one online, or well, thepiratebay.org also helps should we get really desperate.
All in all, what this insane custom taxes accomplishes nothing but making it hard for Filipinos to progress in their technical knowledge.