Press Release
June 15, 2020

Villanueva: Gov't must empower online sellers through skills training to become successful

Senator Joel Villanueva has asked government agencies to provide the necessary interventions to raise the skills of online sellers by providing virtual trainings on essential and entrepreneurial skills to help their new ventures become successful enterprises.

As the Bureau of Internal Revenue eased requirements to encourage online sellers to register due to mounting calls, Villanueva pointed out that empowering people to help them fend for themselves should be the government's priority while it continues to address the impact of COVID-19 in the country.

"What the government must do is to provide enough online resources so that they can upgrade their entrepreneurial skills and be knowledgeable in proper handling and storage of food, and financial management, among others, to make their businesses sustainable," said Villanueva, who chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resource Development.

"Kung tutulungan natin sila sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng training, hindi na po aasa ang ating mga kababayan sa ayuda. Mababawasan ang alalahanin ng gobyerno at mas madali nitong matutugunan ang iba pang aspeto ng problemang dulot ng pandemiko," the lawmaker added in a statement on Sunday.

While self-employed individuals earning P250,000 and below are exempted from income tax, Villanueva pointed out that online sellers, especially those who do not have a background on bookkeeping, might need to tap someone familiar with the periodic filings, thus entailing additional administrative cost.

In addition, while Villanueva welcomed the BIR's decision on Friday to waive the requirement on obtaining a mayor's permit to encourage registration of online sellers, they still need to register with either the Department of Trade and Industry for sole proprietors or the Securities and Exchange Commission for corporations.

The lawmaker reiterated that the priority is to go after businesses which have long dodged its tax obligations to the government such as Philippine offshore gaming operations that owe at least P50 billion in taxes.

Villanueva said that given the unemployment situation, people are resorting to the means available to them so they can survive.

"In ordinary times, we agree that online sellers should immediately register with the BIR and pay the appropriate taxes. But right now, we have a pandemic and everyone is just trying to survive. We should encourage these online sellers so they can thrive and contribute to economic activities," Villanueva said.

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