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Ben Diokno eyes 'correct' taxes on streaming service payments, other digital transactions

Incoming Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno is looking into imposing the “correct” taxes for streaming service payments and other digital transactions as a way for the government to earn additional revenues.

Diokno, the current governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), made the remark amid the huge debt incurred by the Philippines following its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said digital transactions had the tendency to “evade” imposing taxes unlike purchases made over-the-counter.

“Hindi siya nagbabayad ng sapat na buwis kumpara kung bibili ka sa tindahan. Unfair din naman ‘yun at sino mas nakakagamit nang ganitong transaction? Syempre yung mga may cellphone, yung mayayaman,” he said in the latest episode of The Mangahas Interviews.

“Ang pinakaimportante sa tax system, it should be fair at tsaka it should be perceived to be fair. Ang dapat perception ng tao lahat may tax-burden. Kailangan tayo magbayad ng buwis natin kasi maraming pinagkakagastusan na makakatulong din naman sa atin,” he told journalist Malou Mangahas.

Among these digital transactions, according to Diokno, are subscription-based services such as those on video and audio streaming.

“Right now, kung nakaka-evade sya ng taxes, why not tax it? It’s a service. Sino naman nakakafford ng Netflix? Hindi naman mahihirap. They can afford it,” Diokno said.

To recall, the Philippines’ current debt climbed to a record-high P12.68 trillion as of end-March following the continuous borrowing efforts of the administration to boost the war chest against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outgoing central bank chief assured he would look into proposals to implement additional taxes, saying first focus on debt sustainability once he steps in as the next Finance Chief in the incoming Marcos administration. —Sundy Locus/NB, GMA News