Press Release
June 17, 2020

Villanueva: Govt must extend helping hand to online sellers, who mostly come from ranks of the unemployed

Senator Joel Villanueva has appealed to the government to give more leeway for online sellers, instead of cracking the whip on them, especially since these individuals come mostly from ranks of the unemployed and are on survival mode.

In a statement, Villanueva explained that most online sellers are focused on earning enough to provide for their basic necessities now given that stable jobs are hard to come by as employers and the labor market continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Payak lang po ang konsiderasyon na nasa isip ng ating mga manggagawa na nakikipagsapalaran ngayon bilang mga online seller. Kailangan po nilang kumita para may pagkain sa kanilang hapag at matustusan ang iba pang pangangailangan ng kanilang pamilya tulad ng bayarin sa upa, kuryente, tubig, at iba pa," pointed out Villanueva, who chairs the Senate labor committee.

"Kaya po nais natin hilingin sa gobyerno na dahan-dahanin lang po ang paghahabol sa mga online sellers. Huwag na po natin gamitin ang takot at pangamba upang hikayatin ang mga online seller na mag-rehistro. Tulungan na lang po natin silang makabangon at maging matagumpay sa negosyo dahil mas makatitiyak tayo na maka-kolekta ng buwis kapag sigurado na ang kanilang kita," added the lawmaker.

Villanueva reiterated the importance of providing trainings to first-time sellers on entrepreneurship so that they are able to include in their pricing the costs related to the business which are often overlooked. For instance, those without a background on bookkeeping may need to hire one to maintain their business' book of accounts and keep track of the periodic filings with the BIR, he said.

"We don't discount the fact that there is a cost of doing business. What we hope the government does today is to help our online sellers minimize these costs of doing business just until our situation improves," the senator said.

He maintained that the priority of tax authorities should be going after firms with outstanding tax obligations such as Philippine offshore gaming operations, which owe the government at least P50 billion last year.

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