Netizen Elizabeth Ramos fought for her right to not be taxed when she went to the Pasay Post Office to claim a set of Harry Potter books she ordered from the Bookdepository. Ramos had ordered a boxed set of the seven-book series.
Because of all the stories going around about taxes being imposed before one can claim a package, Ramos went to the post office armed with a copy of Department Order 57-2011 which indicated that imported books were duty-free and VAT-exempt within guidelines. Books are exempted from tax if there are six (6) or less copies of each title.
After waiting for an hour and a half, she was called to the inspection room where her box was opened and the tax was computed. The tax amounted to P1,088. When Ramos explained about the department order, the staff pointed out it was more than six books and that all Harry Potter books have the same title, hence going over the six-book limit. One lady even told Ramos and her companion, “Marunong pa kayo samin [You think you know better than us.]”.
Her “bill” even contained a note that she could just pay a “discounted” tax price of P700, which a man in the post office erased when Ramos said she was not going to pay for the amount.
Going home empty-handed, Ramos inquired from the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) if her Harry Potter boxed set of seven books should be taxed. She received an answer that the Harry Potter book set are tax-exempted.
PCDSPO forwarded their response to Ramos to the Bureau of Customs (BOC), which forwarded the complaint to Pasay Post Office.
When Ramos returned to the post office, she went straight to the inspection room. When she mentioned who she was, a man immediately recognized her (presumably from the email). The man asked someone to get the books and just asked her to pay for P100 as the storage fee. At one point, he even asked her, “Sino ba kapit mo? [Who is your contact (from BOC)?]” Ramos was dumbfounded, but decided to ignore the comment since she was able to get her package.
Ramos shared her story to help fellow netizens to be well aware of their rights and that even though it took a long time, she still fought for her right to her books. Hopefully, other netizens can take a page out of her book and be able to fight for their own rights as well.