AN OFFICIAL from the Department of Trade and Industry in Davao City (DTI-Davao City) urged online sellers to secure business permits.
But some online sellers demand local government units (LGUs) to have a more seamless process when applying for one.
In a virtual presser, DTI-Davao City Director Rachel Remitio said sellers must get the necessary permits from their respective local government units (LGUs) even if they only operate online.
She explained that it is the business permit that authorizes online sellers to conduct business as opposed to the Business Name Registration that the Trade department provides.
“The business name registration is just an authority that you own that particular business name. It is not an authority to operate a business because the authority to operate a business is given by the local government unit,” she said.
In the absence of the physical store, which is misconceived as a requirement to get a business permit, she said the residential address of the online sellers is considered as the business address.
“You need to get a business permit for you to legally operate as an online seller,” she said.
Remitio added that the necessary permits will also give the online sellers and the customers the confidence in their business transactions.
“If you have all the necessary permits and even BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) registration for you to have official receipt, it will give you pogi points because you can brag that you are existing legally and you will have the confidence of the consuming public,” she said.
Several online sellers shared that they have benefitted from securing business permits especially in protecting them from potential scammers who are either a customer or their fellow online sellers.
Gem Avancena-Arenas, who sells frozen products online, said her business is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Although she considers having a business permit as an additional cost, she said it is necessary for regulation purposes.
“Naay tendency nga overpriced ang items. Worse, ma-scam ang uban customers (Some online sellers overprice their products and scam other customers),” she said.
“I experienced having diarrhea after eating the food I bought online. So since online lang siya, di ko ka complain kay way resibo (Since it is online and they don’t have an official receipt, I cannot complain),” she added.
She said online sellers must already consider it as part of their capital.
Janina Gantuangco, a reseller of imported hair dye and has just renewed her business permit, said she does not mind the fees that she spends on application and renewal.
However, she suggested that LGUs must have a more seamless process in getting business permits, especially for online sellers.
“Ang pinakahasul lang katong pag-apply nako, wala pa sila category sa online selling. Mag diskurso pa kung unsa ba gyud (I struggled when I applied for a business permit because they do not have a category for online businesses and you have to explain it to them),” she said.
She also did not understand how the fees she has to pay were determined.
“Unta i-explain how they came about with the fees kay tagaan lang kag amount. Tapos usahay wala gatugma ang ginapang ingon sa office ug pikas office so maglibog ka (I hope they also explain how they set the fees. Instructions from each office also differ and it is confusing us),” she said.
Gantuangco hoped that the government comes up with a better process especially in complying with requirements from different offices involved.
“Naa online something na lang sad para ma-assess or check ang requirements or inquiries. Para dili mag waste ug time magpila (They should have an online mechanism for us to check requirements and inquire so we will not spend so much time queueing),” she said.
For Hanz Garado, who is currently working on the permits for his lechon and tapsilog business, it is necessary because it is the legal thing to do and that some customers will ask if they are registered in DTI or the LGUs.
However, he said it is not an assurance of quality service.
“Naay business na DTI-registered pero ang service and quality lagpak (Even those who are DTI-registered have a poor service and quality),” he said.
In terms of additional expense, he said the grace period on payment and processing of the permits that the local government set is helping them to save for it.
He said he is selling his lechon online so he can earn to pay for the permits he is currently processing.