Quick Links: Talumpati | Licensed Librarians | Filipiniana Online | Stereotypes | Leadership | The Philippines

"The Great Book Blockade of 2009" is over

It all started with Robin Hemley's "The Great Book Blockade of 2009," which laid bare the plan to start taxing books imported into the Philippines—contrary to the Florence Agreement—because a customs undersecretary decided that she was the only one in more than fifty years who could interpret the Agreement correctly. There's more in my post on "Libraries and 'The Great Book Blockade of 2009'," but all's well that ends well because today it was reported that "Taxes on book imports lifted." Finally, here's the summary of events and reflection written by Hemley for the Far Eastern Economic Review on the role he played in all of this: "Notes from a Blockade Runner."

I'm happy, of course, that it's over. But the very first question I asked when I learned about the blockade remains: "why did it have to take a foreigner to write about it in a foreign publication?" (see 2nd comment on "The Great Book Blockade of 2009 (updated)"). If bookstore owners and book dealers already knew about it weeks and months ago—some were even at that infamous meeting with the undersecretary herself—how come we never heard from them until after Hemley broke the story? I have nothing against Hemley or foreigners, but I really think it's amazing that scandal-sniffing Filipino reporters didn't pick up on this right away.

In "The Great Book Blockade of... 1959," I linked to an article by Joaquin Po, a bookstore owner. I haven't found out how that "blockade" ended fifty years ago, but I'd like to think that Po's efforts were rewarded eventually. There's a lesson here... and not just for bookstore owners and book dealers. Someone has to speak up. How do we work together to solve a problem if very few know the problem exists?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...