Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Books and Taxes

I love to read. Whether its books (both tech and non-tech) or magazines, hard or soft copy, old or new, I would always find something to catch my interest.

Recently, I bought 2 compilations of a variant of the X-Men comics. The Clairvoyant suspected I was again renewing interest in collecting such, especially after watching the Wolverine movie over the weekend. She, however, did not expect I'd actually purchase a few copies this week.

Another interest, or hobby if I may, is history. I loved Ambeth Ocampo's writing of popular history and his style, I believe should be adopted in our schools for our youth to have a understanding of Philippine history without the fear of having to memorize dates and becoming bored with "formal" retelling of history. I do have all his compilations and often re-read these, if only to relax and clear my mind of the complexities that are identified with my chosen profession - engineering.

This brings me to the hot topic these days. Books and taxes. I have been a victim of our stupid (yes, I think that's an appropriate yet kind word to use) imposition of taxes on books, regardless of their use. I remembering ordering textbooks and manuals via Amazon and ending up with taxes almost as much as the amount I paid for the books.

These are books and manuals, mind you, that are far superior to what we have here. One book, on Engineering Statistics, was even written by a Filipino who has resided in the US since the 1960s, and has been the preferred textbook by many excellent universities. Meanwhile, similar material here that claim to be books are actually review materials for various licensure examinations. Using these books encourage memorization of formulas and a culture of problem solving that emphasizes the memorization of solutions without understanding the concepts that would actually develop analytical skills in students.

It seems to me that our government, in its reckless drive to collect revenues, is actually getting such from the wrong sources. Books are a form of investment. Their consumption would ultimately lead to economic development and perhaps, liberation from the thinking that we as a nation cannot go beyond what we have achieved (meron ba?) given the system that we have now. The current interpretation by our Bureau of Customs, and consequently our Department of Finance, that all books should be taxed, and the silence by our DepEd, CHED and other institutions that claim to be for education, only promotes backwardness and a future that will not get us anywhere except mediocrity.

Interesting read:

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