On book blockade and the Filipino brain

I’m taking my cue from Jayvee’s post, I want to express my indignation at what Espela Sales’ “palusot” regarding the taxation on the importation of books.

The treaty has provided for duty-free importation of books to guarantee the free flow of “educational, scientific, and cultural materials” between countries and declared that imported books should be duty-free.

But Sales reportedly brushed off this argument, saying novels and reading books are “not educational.”

The imposition of duties on foreign books has caused book importers to reconsider future importations due to higher importation costs for the books.

Filipino is my mother tongue. That’s the language we use in the household. Growing up, I was a lazy student who didn’t pay attention to grammar lessons. I was anti-social too and discovered the magical world of books. It was a form of escape for me and I devoted hours reading my Archie comics and young adult books instead of reading my school books. But you know what? My grammar improved immensely because of those “non-educational” books. You will just have to believe me when I say that my English was atrocious before I started reading.My view of the world broadened because of those books as well. I became familiar with the Western world, a knowledge essential to the hundreds of Filipinos working as call center agents. That knowledge is not the same as when watching foreign shows on TV.

I suspect Sales is not an avid reader. Otherwise, she wouldn’t say such things. Reading stimulates the mind. Neurons are fired up whether a person is reading a trashy romance novel, a comic book, or a 700-page dissertation on the evolution of man. Other countries are encouraging their citizens to read more instead of watching television. By imposing taxes on certain types of literate, Sales is discouraging literacy. Books are already expensive and adding more taxes will them even more unaffordable. Actually, I believe that the government should subsidize a small percent of book costs but that’s too big a dream.

Sales should put a stop to her bullshit unless she wants the Filipinos to end up using text speak as the national language. If the taxation pushes through, she deserves a place in Friendster hell.


I guess I have a lot more reading to do since it’s book blockade, not book blockage *facepalms*