Davao councilor wants Airbnb, other homestay units taxed

Vina Araneta, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2018 08:28 PM | Updated as of Feb 01 2018 08:58 AM

Second District Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre wants homestay and self-styled accommodation owners to acquire a business permit before operating.

A Davao City councilor is seeking to regulate homestay and self-styled accommodation establishments, especially those listed in home-sharing booking applications such as Airbnb, VRBO, tripping.com, Flipkey, Home Away, and others.

Second District Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre wants accommodation owners to acquire a business permit before operating.

Alejandre said Airbnb has 300 registered homestay and self-styled accommodation establishments in Davao.

“We found out na almost 300 houses sa Davao mostly Airbnb, most of them mga tourists coming to Davao. As we checked sa business bureau, wala sila business permit and they are not paying local taxes in the city," he said.

He added that establishments should pay local taxes because they fall within the amended tourism code of 2014.

"I'm not against Airbnb, we just want them to follow regulations set by city tourism and local taxes para pud maimprove nato ang ilang services."

According to the Davao City Tourism Office, inns and lodges registered in online booking applications are a big help to the tourism industry because of the shortage of hotels in Davao, especially now that target for 2018 is 2.2 million tourist arrivals.

However, he said establishments have to pass the Department of Tourism’s standards.

“There’s a need kasi to regulate all these establishments for the safety of our tourists at malaman natin anu-ano na yung mga establishments na ito,” said Generose Tecson, Davao City Tourism officer.

During Mayor Sara Duterte’s state of the city address last September 2017, she said all boarding houses and inns should apply for a business permit so that they will not become havens of criminals.

“They [The business bureau] have intensified their operations against establishments who don’t have business permits, particularly inns, boarding houses and lodges that criminals can easily use to plan and execute their illegal activity," she said.

Airbnb establishments will also be subjected to occupancy tax.

All owners will be invited to a committee hearing this February.