Solon proposes loans, training, other benefits for small online businesses dubbed as ‘saviors of economy’

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2020   •   328

MANILA, Philippines — House Committee on Ways and Means chairman Joey Salceda of the 2nd District of Albay has filed a bill that seeks to provide support measures for small online businesses.

Under House Bill No. 7698, or the Online Small Enterprise Support Services Act of 2020 which Salceda filed on Friday (September 18), online sellers will be entitled for loans, training, grants, and registration assistance to help in their businesses.

“Small online businesses are the saviors of the COVID-19 economy. We would see far more unemployment and far more poverty if Filipino households did not turn to small online businesses,” Salceda said.

The bill aims to provide small online businesses with less than P1 million in annual sales with cheap loans from government banks, free credit reports, grants and training from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and other benefits and assistance.

According to Salceda, this will also push online businesses to register and avoid government sanctions.

“Many online businesses sprung up over the past few months because of COVID-19. Unfortunately, many of them are still unregistered,” he explained.

“Instead of punishing them for simply trying to make a living, my approach is to make registration worth it. If you’re a small online business, you serve the economy, whether registered or not. But we will offer generous benefits if you register and pay taxes. It’s a fair and humane deal,” he added.

Salceda also authored the Digital Economy Taxation Act which targets large digital corporations which can help fund efforts against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as well as improvements in the digital economy.

Salceda cited a Labor Force Survey conducted in April 2020 which revealed that “self-employed without any paid employees” are saving the economy. 

“In practical terms, the ‘self-employed without any paid employee’ are primarily the online entrepreneurs, who have initiated new online businesses, via social media and other platforms. In fact, during the quarantines, many micro-firms proved resilient,” he said.

“According to the ADB Philippine Enterprise Survey on COVID-19 Impact, about 44% of businesses fully open were micro enterprises, while only 25.5% were small businesses, 17% were medium, and 13% were large,” he concluded.

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