After a bill in Congress, here comes another in the upper house: Senator Ramon Revilla has filed for a similar bill seeking to tax digital transactions and activities.
Revilla filed Senate Resolution No. 410, urging the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and the appropriate Senate Committees to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the possibility of collecting taxes from multinational online streaming services and the digital economy in general.
“We need to embrace the digital revolution of our time, and to comprehensively review and update our existing tax laws regarding digital economy,” Revilla said.
Thelawmaker suggested that revenues raised from such taxes could be used to finance the national economic recovery plan, especially the rehabilitation of severely affected industries, and the construction of “Schools for the Future” which are equipped with digital technologies and laboratories.
“Habang patuloy po ang pagpapatupad natin ng quarantine measures tulad ng social distancing at pagbabawal sa mass gathering, at sa pagpasok nga po natin doon sa tinatawag na ‘New Normal,’ tiyak pong mas marami tayong kababayan na gagamit ng technology-based services tulad ng mga online streaming at online market,” (While we continue implementing quarantine measures such as social distancing and prohibiting mass gatherings, continuing to a “new normal,” we believe more of our fellowmen will use technology-based services such as online streaming and online market) Bong Revilla said.
Earlier this week, a similar bill was introduced in the Congress by Albay representative Joey Salceda, seeking to implement VAT on online advertisements on Facebook and Google and online streaming services such as Netflix. It also aims to put corporate taxes on companies that mainly uses online platforms to sell such as Lazada and Shopee.
These measures come as more Filipinos rely to technologies for getting things done in the COVID-19 pandemic. Filipinos were recognized as voracious online users, typically spending around 10 hours and two minutes of their time in the internet, exceeding the global average online time of six hours and 42 minutes daily. Filipinos spend around four hours and 12 minutes on various social media platforms every day, nearly double the global daily average of two hours and 16 minutes. Filipinos spend at least 3.3 hours daily watching online content on mobile devices.