Bill Seeking Additional Protection and Access to Modern Books Filed in Congress

HB 5524, an amendatory House Bill which seeks to redefine the obsolete definition of a book, has been filed in Congress by Representative Emmeline Aglipay – Villar of the DIWA (Democratic Independent Workers’ Association) Party-list. The bill, entitled “Expanded Definition of the Book Act,” seeks to extend to our “modern” books such as electronic-books or audio books, the same statutory privileges extended to our more traditional printed books.

Under the amended definition of a book, e-books and audio books can be covered by the benefits that accrue to traditional print books, thereby promoting its creation, patronage, and consumption, to the benefit of our nation’s literacy competence. “Under our present law, for example, traditional paper books, including book publishing, as well as its distribution and circulation, shall be exempt from the coverage of the E-VAT (expanded value added tax). There should be no reason why we should not exempt these so called electronic or audio books from the E-VAT as well,” explained DIWA Party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay – Villar, the bill’s principal author.

A self-confessed book lover, Rep. Aglipay – Villar relates her personal experience growing up surrounded by books and appreciating how it has always stimulated her learning. She explained, “For centuries, books have been one of the primary means by which human beings have communicated culture, exchanged ideas, and learned from the knowledge, experience, and imagination of other human beings. It is primarily for this reason that the importation and sale of books have traditionally been granted benefits under the law.”