Local government units (LGUs) and national agencies should spare online sellers from the requirement to pay business registration fees, Ang Probinsyano party-List Rep. Alfred delos Santos said.
No less than President Duterte vowed in his fifth State-of-the-Nation Address last July 27 that government will intensify its efforts to help businesses, especially the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Delos Santos noted.
“I hope our LGUs and even the concerned national agencies will heed the call of President Duterte. Our small businesses need the government’s help and compassion, and I believe this is the right thing to do right now,” said the neophyte solon in the 18th Congress.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), some 7.3 million adult Filipinos have lost their jobs in April alone because of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has projected joblessness to reach as high as 10 million by the end of the year.
The party-list lawmaker said these economic uncertainties have forced many unemployed individuals to turn to entrepreneurship to make ends meet, selling food and all sorts of products mostly on Facebook and other online platforms.
“The adverse impact of the pandemic has created a new breed of Filipino business people with strong entrepreneurial spirit. Once again, many of our ‘kababayans’ have proven their resiliency and ability to rise above and to rise again despite adversity,” Delos Santos said.
“Bilang tulong sa ating mga kababayan na ngayon ay kabilang na sa hanay ng MSMEs, sana ay suklian natin ang kanilang katatagan sa kabila ng pagsubok at kawalan ng trabaho. Baka puwedeng exempted muna sila sa mga registration fees pansamantala (Let's help our people, who are now among the country's MSMEs, by appreciating their perseverance after losing their jobs. Maybe we could temporarily exempt them from paying registration fees)," he added.
Delos Santos, an advocate of MSMEs as an important pillar of poverty alleviation, said that small businesses should enjoy a waiver in registration fees from the LGUs all the way up to national agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
“This way, more MSMEs will be encouraged to register with their local government units and even with the DTI and the BIR and which will also enable these agencies to exercise reasonable regulation over them in the future. What should be the priority at this point in time is to assist these new MSMEs, strengthen them so they will be encouraged to register."
The cost of business registration with the DTI varies from P200 to P2,000, while registration with the BIR is P500 plus printing cost of about P1,500 for official receipts of 10 booklets. Meanwhile, business registration with the LGU varies depending on the rules of cities or municipalities.