September 28, 2023

The processing of applications and issuance of business permits for online selling in Baguio has been suspended as a reprieve for online sellers for the time being until the situation made difficult by the Covid-19 pandemic goes back to normal.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong signed on June 8 Resolution 325-2020 passed by the city council on June 1 “suspending 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 Covid-19 pandemic.”

In the resolution authored by Councilor Arthur Allad-iw, the council acknowledged that the imposition of enhanced, general, and modified general community quarantines since March 16 due to the pandemic has adversely affected the operation and profit of businesses, incomes of formal and informal workers, majority of livelihood of people.

The Luzon-wide ECQ from March 16 to May 15 and GCQ up to May 31 had virtually crippled the operations of majority of business establishments in the city, even when essential businesses were allowed to remain open under limited operations.

While the ECQ and GCQ were lifted in the city, which is under modified GCQ until June 15, the council said the easing of quarantine protocols made a small positive impact on business operations, employment, and daily activities of the city’s constituents.

As a reprieve for the business sector, the city government has relaxed its regulations on the payment of business and real property taxes and rent on city-owned lots, buildings, and market stalls. A social amelioration program, including the provision of relief goods, was also initiated by the national government for all affected families and individuals.

Among the hardest-hit businesses are those engaged in online selling, which based on observation has become a viable option in buying necessities for the public whose movements, among other activities, have been restricted for being required to stay at home.

The council stated requiring online sellers to process business permits at this time of economic hardships is uncalled for and irrational.

“There is need to extend reprieve to the online sellers by suspending the processing and issuance of business permits, pending the final declaration of normalcy,” the resolution stated. – Hanna C. Lacsamana