Senator Risa Hontiveros called on the government to first collect the unpaid taxes of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) before taxing online sellers.
"Imbes na online sellers, baka pwedeng singilin muna ang mga POGO na may P50 billion in unpaid taxes?" Hontiveros said in a statement.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Memorandum Circular No. 60-2020, which was released on June 10, states that "all persons doing business and earning income in any manner or form, specifically those who are into digital transactions through the use of any electronic platforms and media, and other digital means," should register comply with tax regulations.
This comes after online buying and selling boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people turned to online services and transactions when malls, restaurants, along with mass transportation had limited operations.
In May, Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government is reviewing proposals to tax online sales and digital streaming services.
That same month, POGOs were allowed to resume limited operations ahead of other businesses and industries. During that time, majority of the country was still under enhanced community quarantine.
The government should prioritize Filipinos, not just in taxes, Hontiveros urged.
"Bakit ba ang luwag natin sa POGO pero ang lupit sa mga Pilipino? Kahit na may 50B pesos unpaid taxes sila, at kahit na di essential, pinayagan pa ring mag-operate sa ilalim ng ECQ. Mayroon din silang mass testing, at tayo wala," she said.
this strange new world.