BAGUIO CITY – The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, requested the possible suspension of the processing and issuance of business permits for ‘online selling’ pending the final declaration of normalcy due to the public health emergency caused by the dreaded Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 global pandemic and the profiling of the said businesses.
In a resolution, city legislators pointed out the city government needs to make an in-depth study anent the ‘online selling’ business because of its reported uniqueness compared to other formal businesses under physical structures, the technology involved, the individuals participating, amount of individual capitalization, the risk involved, the inter-geographical operation, and the amount of income derived from the same.
Earlier, the City Permits and Licensing Division issued an advisory requiring online sellers to secure business permits pursuant to the provisions of the city’s Tax Ordinance No. 2000-001 which mandates all individuals engaged in business to secure the required permits from the city government.
However, the council pointed out the online selling business was not actually spared from the public health emergency caused by the COVID global pandemic and requesting the online sellers to process their business permits at this difficult times is uncalled for and irrational.
According to the council, there is also a need to extend reprieve to the online sellers by suspending the processing and issuance of business permits, pending the final declaration of normalcy due to the prevailing public health emergency.
City Permits and Licensing Officer Allan Abayao informed city legislators that prior to the implementation of the ECQ, there were some 52 online sellers who had permits from the city government, but based on the latest data from the city, there are already some 250 online sellers who have emerged and have yet to secure business permits from the city.
The council stipulated that knowing intelligently the profiles and correct data of online selling or of its background information, it shall enable the body and the city’s executive branch to formulate the applicable requirements for the processing and issuance of business permits and appropriate impositions of taxes, fees and charges.
The city legislative body asserted the implementation of the ECQ and general community quarantine GCQ and eventually downgraded to modified GCQ caused the forced closure of most business establishments that resulted to the loss of jobs, inadequate economic activities and sources of livelihood of the people not only in urban centers but also in rural areas.
Abayao cited that the action of the city government to compel online sellers to secure business permits from the city was triggered by the complaints from legitimate businessmen in the city whose products are allegedly the same as the ones being sold by the on-line sellers to their established clients inside and outside the city.
By Dexter A. See