Senator Sonny Angara has assured that his committee will not touch any provision that grants incentives and tax exemptions to the book publishing industry.
Under House Bill 8083 or the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High Quality Opportunities (TRABAHO), Section 12 of Republic Act 8047 or the Book Publishing Industry Development Act of 1994 is repealed. RA 8047 was authored by the late Senate President Edgardo Angara.
“My committee will not touch any provision that grants incentives and tax exemptions to the book publishing industry.”
This means that incentives, including VAT and customs-duty exemption, on importation of raw materials for book publication will be removed, which may result to higher prices of books.
Local publishers will only continue to enjoy incentives on importation of raw materials if the book publication is in the Strategic Investment Priority Plan of the Board of Investments.
Despite the proposed repeal, sale and importation of books will still be VAT- and customs-duty free under the Tax Code and the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
“My father authored such law because he believed that the book publishing industry plays a vital role in national development. He used to say that books are the most effective and economical tools for achieving educational growth,” Angara said.
‘My father believed that the book publishing industry plays a vital role in national development.”
“Walang katumbas na halaga ang nakukuha nating kaalaman at talino mula sa pagbabasa, kaya hindi makatwiran na tanggalan ito ng insentibo. We want a smarter population,” the chairman of the ways and means committee added.
The Philippine Book Publishing Development Federation (PhilBook) has recently presented a posthumous recognition to the late Angara for being the primary author of RA 8047.
“Due to this law, the publishing and printing industries became vibrant. The number of authors, writers, book publishers, importers, booksellers, printers, editors, illustrators, designers, lay-out artists, translators and literary agents has increased,” PhilBook stated.
Meanwhile, the seasoned legislator lamented the declining number of Filipino readers in the country.
An SWS survey on the reading habits of Filipinos showed that the number of Filipino adult readers of books declined from 90 percent in 2003 to 80 percent in 2012.
The same survey also showed that majority of Filipino readers borrow or receive books as gifts rather than buy one for personal use.
“Kapag tumaas ang presyo ng mga libro, mas lalong hindi na ito magiging abot-kaya at posibleng bumaba pa ang bilang ng Filipino readers. We should not let this happen,” the veteran lawmaker said.