Karapatan ng consumers, mas mapapangalagaan sa pagpaparehistro ng online sellers – DTI

Robie de Guzman   •   June 15, 2020   •   167

MANILA, Philippines – Malaking benepisyo sa mga consumer kung magpaparehistro sa Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) ang online sellers, ayon sa Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Sa isang panayam sa programang Get It Straight with Daniel Razon ngayong Lunes, sinabi ni DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo na mas mapapangalagaan ang karapatan ng mga consumer kung may datos na hawak ang pamahalaan hinggil sa operasyon ng online sellers.

Ani Castelo, noon pa man ay marami na silang natatanggap na reklamo laban sa online sellers at lumobo pa ito sa panahon ng community quarantine.

Aniya, marami ang sumabak sa pagbebenta ng produkto online matapos makansela ang pasok sa trabaho at operasyon ng pampublikong transportasyon dahil sa COVID-19 crisis.

Mula sa mahigit 900 reklamo laban sa online sellers mula Enero hanggang Marso ngayong taon ay umakyat ito sa mahigit 8,000 mula Abril hanggang Mayo.

Karamihan aniya sa mga reklamo ay tungkol sa nabiling depektibong produkto o kaya ay pagpapataw ng mas mataas na presyo ngunit hindi naman nahahabol ang mga inirereklamong online sellers dahil nagpapalit lang ang mga ito ng pangalan o kaya ay tini-take down ang kanilang page.

Ani Castelo, maaaring maiwasan ang ganitong insidente kung naka-rehistro ang  negosyo at impormasyon ng online sellers.

Sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang sistema, kailangang makipag-ugnayan ng DTI sa Cybercrime Division ng National Bureau of Investigation o ng Philippine National Police upang matunton ang IP address ng isang online seller kung may reklamo ang isang customer.

“Ang nagiging issue po for consumer protection, they are virtual, wala po silang physical address. So, web page lang or yung kanilang site sa internet hindi po natin masyadong napo-proteksyunan ang mga consumers dahil dito,” ani Castelo.

Binigyang-diin naman ni Castelo na ang panawagan ng BIR na pagpaparehistro sa online sellers ay para lamang makabuo ang pamahalaan ng database o registry ng online businesses upang matiyak na sumusunod ang mga ito sa Consumer at Price Act at mapangalagaan din ang kapakanan ng consumers.

“Ang importante po mahihiram natin sa BIR at mate-trace natin, makaka-build po tayo ng database at mabi-build natin ang ating registry ng lahat ng online sellers, mas madali na po ang consumer protection na magagawa natin,” sabi ng opisyal.

Sinabi rin ni Castelo na boluntaryo ang pagpaparehistro dahil wala pa namang batas sa bansa na mag-oobliga sa registration ng online sellers

Sa panig naman ng BIR, iginiit nitong walang dapat ipangamba ang online sellers sa pagpaparehistro ng kanilang negosyo dahil hindi naman sila bubuwisan kung maliit lang ang kanilang kinikita.

Sa ilalim ng Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, ang mga negosyong gumagamit ng digital platform o electronic commerce at kumikita ng mas mababa sa P250,000 sa isang taon ay hindi pagbabayarin ng buwis.

Ayon kay BIR deputy commissioner Arnel Guballa, layon lamang ng inilabas nilang memorandum circular kamaikailan na malaman kung sinu-sino ang online sellers at kung magkano ang kanilang kinikita.

Iginiit rin ni Guballa na malalaking online selling platforms ang target nilang buwisan.

“Ang gusto talaga namin later on na ita-tax ng gobyerno is yung malalaki, yung Lazada, Shopee, Netflix. ‘Yung gaya ng mga kababayan natin na nandyan lang sa bahay eh hindi naman po yun yung tinatrget itax ng BIR. Sila ay parte ng sistema na gusto namin makita ang data,” ani ng opisyal.

Binigyan-diin rin ng opisyal na sa ilalim ng National Internal Revenue Code, kailangang magpa-rehistro at magdeklara ng kinikita sa BIR ang sinumang may negosyo, mapa-pisikal man ito o online. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

DTI lifts quantity restrictions on alcohol, facemasks, other essential items

Marje Pelayo   •   June 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has lifted the quantity restrictions on essential items such as alcohol and facemasks after months of strict community quarantine when the incidence of hoarding and profiteering was rampant.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the limits were lifted after the Department managed a healthy inventory of supplies. 

“Now we have an abundant supply of masks, and that’s the reason why just recently, about two days ago we are removing these limits in purchases,” he said. 

“We have also increased the limits, let’s say, on mask purchases to one box of 50. Dati ‘yan five pieces lang [Previously, it was limited to five pieces only],” he added.

Currently, each box of 50 pieces of surgical mask costs around P300 to P500 while N95 masks cost around P400 to P500 per 10 pieces in Bambang, Manila.

Disinfecting alcohol, meanwhile, slightly increased in prices by P10 with each bottle now ranging from P85 to P500, depending on the volume.

Aside from medical supplies, the DTI also lifted the caps imposed for the sale and purchase of other basic commodities, such as canned sardines, instant noodles, canned and powdered milk, instant coffee, bread loaf, detergent soap, toothpaste, canned pork, canned beef, cooking oil, soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, and dried fish. MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

DTI probes reports on alleged abuse of PWD discount cards

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 23, 2020

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will investigate the reports of alleged misuse of Persons with Disability (PWD) identification cards.

A photo circulated on social media last 20 June 2020 showing a photo of a family from Quezon City with all members supposedly visually impaired and one with psychosocial disability.

“Abuse of privilege in any law ruins the spirit behind it. Such a discount is solely meant for actual persons with disabilities. DTI, through the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB), is currently investigating the matter,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

He also emphasized that such corruption is not tolerated and must immediately be reported to the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

The department said it is also ready to file charges against individuals proven to have fake PWD ID cards.

“Especially in this time of crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, people should not be abusing their PWD ID cards since many restaurant owners are also facing difficulty in keeping their businesses afloat,” he said. AAC

Resolution urging BIR to suspend tax memo on online sellers filed at Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   June 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday said she has filed a resolution seeking for the suspension of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) memo that mandates online sellers to register and pay taxes amid struggles of finding alternative means to earn money during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, Hontiveros said she recently filed Senate Resolution No. 453 which urges the BIR to suspend the memo’s implementation “until the end of the year.”

The resolution also sought for a Senate investigation into the agency’s efforts to subject online sellers to taxation and registration requirements, which was criticized by many for being “ill-timed and insensitive.”

“Kung hahabulin ng pamahalaan ang malalaking digital entrepreneurs, dapat siguraduhing hindi nito pahihirapan ang maliliit na online seller na dumidiskarte ngayon para kumita. Our revenue policies should be sensitive to the struggles of Filipinos trying to make ends meet in these difficult times,” Hontiveros said.

Malacañang earlier clarified that not all online sellers will need to pay taxes but should still register their business and update their tax records. The Palace also stressed that those earning less than P250,000 annually are tax exempt, referring to a provision of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law which states that only income above P250,000 is subject to taxes.

The Department of Trade and Industry also backed BIR’s move, saying the registration requirement only aims to build a registry of online sellers.

While Hontiveros noted Malacañang’s clarification, she said the registration requirement may still cost online sellers thousands of pesos in fees.

“It is best for everybody’s interests if the BIR suspends the implementation of the memo until December 31, 2020, while government agencies review and craft better policy guidelines on how online entrepreneurs should register or pay taxes,” she said.

The senator also pushed for a digital platform for BIR registration instead of requiring applicants to physically troop to its offices.

“Magkaroon muna ng digital platform for registration. Requiring people to congregate at the BIR’s offices likewise exposes them to the health risks associated with COVID-19 and might also lead to further spreading the disease and prolonging the pandemic,” she said.

She also reiterated her earlier call for the government to prioritize the collection of tax duties of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) rather than individuals who are making temporarily living via social media channels to weather the economic effects of the pandemic.

“It is only proper for the BIR to ensure that big digital businesses earning millions in profits – such as Philippine Online Gaming Operators (POGOs) – are paying proper taxes as required by law. Pero sana, huwag na pahirapan ang mga kababayan nating dumidiskarte para makakain,” Hontiveros said.

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