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Philippine lawmaker proposes tax targeting tech giants to fund virus fight

Erin Fox

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Philippine lawmaker proposes tax targeting tech giants to fund virus fight

MANILA (Reuters) – A Philippine lawmaker has introduced a bill in parliament aimed at taxing big tech firms such as Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and Youtube, Netflix and Spotify, to raise funds to battle the coronavirus.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Facebook logo is placed between small toy people figures in front of a keyboard in this illustration taken April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The bill looks to raise 29 billion pesos ($571 million) by imposing a value added tax on digital services provided in the Philippines, a key growth area for e-commerce transactions as its people are among the world’s heaviest users of social media.

“We spent to fight COVID-19 and we need more to continue fighting it and recover,” Congressman Joey Salceda, the bill’s principal author, told Reuters.

“It sends a strong signal to the world that the Philippines is ready for the digital transformation. We are putting our taxation in order.”

Starting next year, Salceda said, funds raised from new taxes would also be used to finance digital programs such as a national broadband project and digital learning, to fill the education gap caused by school closures.

But it may take a while before the proposal is scheduled for debate, as lawmakers are busy deliberating on an economic stimulus package to jumpstart the Philippine economy, ravaged by pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Google, Netflix, and Spotify were not immediately available for comment. Facebook declined to comment.

The Philippines has recorded 13,434 virus infections, including 846 deaths and 3,000 recoveries, and has run nearly 208,000 tests among its population of more than 107 million.

Last week, neighbouring Indonesia announced plans for VAT of 10% on digital products from July, to boost revenues amid the pandemic. Southeast Asian regulators held talks last year on a region-wide effort to tax tech giants more.

($1=50.74 Philippine pesos)

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Additional Reporting by Fanny Potkin in Jakarta; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

From television to the internet platform, Erin switched her journey in digital media with News Brig. She served as a journalist for popular news channels and currently contributes his experience for News Brig by writing about the tech domain.

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EA allows ‘Madden NFL 21’ Xbox Series X upgrades until ‘NFL 22’ arrives

Erin Fox

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EA allows 'Madden NFL 21' Xbox Series X upgrades until 'NFL 22' arrives

When EA first introduced an option to upgrade the Xbox One version of Madden NFL 21 to the Xbox Series X release for free, it gave players until March 31st, 2021 to make the decision. That’s not much time if you aren’t dead set on buying the Series X right away, is it? You won’t have to stress quite so much going forward, however. EA has quietly updated

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Facebook issues new recommendations for discussing racism in groups

Erin Fox

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Facebook issues new recommendations for discussing racism in groups

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The social network suggests that groups should have administrators and moderators from “impacted communities,” for a start. They should also review rules and outline them for group members, even if it means forbidding certain topics or requiring post approval. Facebook also wants group leaders to be open to member input, however, and they may have to accept that the nature of a group might evolve or even prompt the creation of another group.

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Some iPhone 11 models display a green tint after unlocking

Erin Fox

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Some iPhone 11 models display a green tint after unlocking

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