MANILA -- A provincial governor on Monday urged the national government to curb corruption first before imposing taxes on online selling, which saw a boom during the coronavirus pandemic.
The corruption storm against state medical insurer PhilHealth, whose officials were accused by a whistleblower of pocketing P15 billion in public funds, are "just one of the many systemic injustices imposed by those in power [versus] those in need," said Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla.
"The government should use its resources into finding, charging, and structurally improving the system, across the board. The guilty should pay for their crimes... If we are successful in this endeavor then maybe paying taxes will be worth it for everyone," he said in a Facebook post.
Remulla urged the government to "consider delaying the taxation of online trading or selling" and instead "create programs, encourage and inspire people to shift to the new digital economy."
"Let us give comfort to those who are striving to survive. They are not even asking for a dole out. These entrepreneurs are not depending on the SAP (social amelioration program). They are just trying to make a living in order to provide for their families," said the governor of Calabarzon's most populous province.
"Let us give our small scale business owners a break from the burden of taxes at this very difficult time and fix the issues of corruption first," he added.
A recent opinion survey found that some 27.3 million Filipinos or about 45.5 percent of the workforce is unemployed.
Some Cavite residents have turned to the online selling of ornamental plants to get by, said Remulla.
Online businesses earning less than P250,000 per year are exempted from paying taxes, Malacañang said in June after the Bureau of Internal Revenue reminded sellers to settle their dues.