Don't dream it's over  

Posted by Laya in ,

I had been planning to write something about the end to the Great Book Blockade of 2009, but I guess this is what we mean when we say that the war has officially ended, but the mopping-up operations are still going on.

After everyone's efforts, and Rock Ed's Bookbigayan, GMA herself, on a Sunday to boot, ordered the Department of Finance to revoke the book tax. And Sales would comply.

We thought it was over, right?

But Malacanang told Teves to rescind the order. Teves, it seems has complied... by suspending it. Customs said, according to the Philippine Star, that some importers failed to submit some documents that would prove their entitlement to the exemption, which is why the order had been issued in the first place. And I recall reading somewhere... *searches* that DOF is planning to challenge the order anyway?

I mean HUH? First time I ever heard of THAT. And what documents do you need to prove your entitlement to the exemption from book tax? Isn't the fact that your shipment is made up of BOOKS enough to exempt it? This isn't like one of those cases where the authorities acknowledge a right then make up all sorts of requirements so that people can't assert it anyway, is it?

And anyway, it seems that the order is taking mighty long to trickle down the chain of command. Here's a comment from MLQ3's blog:

I have recently ordered a few books (total cost $US 77.26). I sent someone to pick them up yesterday (May 28, 2009) but she opted to not claim the books after seeing that she had to pay P1,216 in duties and other fees.

Here is the breakdown:
Customs Duty: P182
Value Added Tax: P519
IDF (this is illegible so I’m not 100% sure but it looks like I D F but could also be something else): P250
Customs Doc Stamp: P250
BIR (again illegible) Stamp: P15
Total: P1216

Also, they opened the package so that they could get at the invoice and see how much it was worth.

What’s legit? What’s not?

It seems, dear friends, that people at the post office are still implementing that idiotic search and seizure procedure taught to them by Customs of opening your package and looking for the original price of the books (search) and then charging you all sorts of fees based on that price whether or not you bought the books or got them gratis (seizure). After all, you have to pay if you want your books, right? And it seems you have the money to get books sent to you from abroad, so you must have the money to ransom, er redeem, them. The fee is in pesos. Peanuts to the dollars you must have expended to get those books.

The solution, according to our most esteemed bloggers, twitterers and plurkers, is to bring a copy of GMA's order, as well as news articles about the issuance of the order, with you to the Post Office when you go to claim your books. And do not budge even when they try to intimidate you with their hoity-toity I-work-in-the-government-and-you-can't-do-anything-about-it manners. All they can charge you is a minimal package-handling fee (and make a fuss about it if it seems too big, too).

Okay. Right. Bring out the mops!

This entry was posted at Friday, May 29, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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