Migrate. Now. How government inefficiency in the Philippines chokes entrepreneurship

I loved our country and once said I’d never leave it, even though it was corrupt and all. I mean, things are just the way they are, right? Right. So, if the-way-things-are directly means extremely heavy taxes, stooping down your own morality, and cheering by as the local politician runs for office again and again, can your 25-year old self still believe that the Philippines is a place for you to live your dreams and start your family? Double nope.


I had my hammering experience recently, as I renewed by business permit in the Quezon City hall. Basically, QC assumes that anyone entering into a “wholesale” business is immediately a large-scale business with gross receipts of at least 150,000 pesos a year and thus can foot at least 20,000 pesos in annual fees and third-party quality testing (yes, the one for your poop). And lemme tell you, it was hard enough having to steer into the driveway of the Quezon City hall. As I set my foot down, I felt like vomiting. Man, all of this, uulitin na naman.

My first stop was to get business assessed, which was easy enough because I didn’t make any sale since starting the business mid-2015. So my sales to be declared was zero pesos.

“Ay sir, hindi po pwede ang zero income. Hindi po tatanggapin ng computer.” Ha?

I knew that the gross receipts was the basis for the City Tax, so I asked the Offcer of the Day what I could do to correct it. After all, all my BIR records will show zero-sales.

“Voluntary gross sales na lang po. 150,000 pesos.”

Shortly after that, my jaw dropped, because the equivalent City Tax for it was 3,993.00 pesos. Seriously, I felt like my civil rights were grossly violated. Why in the world can’t I declare zero sales? Well, of course if businesses could declare zero sales, then they might avoid getting taxed. But isn’t it already the BIR’s job to audit and sniff out tax evasion, and it’s already stressful (and unfair) enough. Point is, City Tax is based on gross receipts, which in my case was zero. The 3,993.00 pesos I paid for City Tax, was outrageous, and extremely unfair.

“Maliit na nga po ang 150,000 eh,” the Officer of the Day added, “normally nasa 1 million yan.”

Seriously? An annual gross sale of 1,000,000 means 83,333.33 of sales a month. How does a young businessman get into this minority percentile of income brackets at age 25? It’s ridiculous! Let’s take an example. If another fresh-grad entrepeneur wishes to market specialty sausages from his heirloom animal husbandry business in the province, whilst using his subdivision residence as a business address, does he expect to gross a frigging MILLION in the next year? No! What the hell. And besides, the sole basis is the GROSS RECEIPTS, not anything else. If QC wants to make sure that business don’t avoid taxes, then they should put controls and incentives where they ought to be, not cordoning you off there and then.

And it’s not just the City Taxes. It’s a lot of other things. The 3,993.00 was part of a 6,575.00 peso Business Tax Bill. Now, if that was all that I had to pay for, I’d be ok. But no. Read on, fellow man.

Separate from the Business Processing and Licensing Office of the Quezon City hall are the Sanitary and Fire departments. From Gross receipts, let’s talk more about gross things. Literally, gross. Here are their requirements so you can have your business:


  1. Monthly water testing (accredited centers only) – 700 pesos x 12 months
  2. Stool and sputum exam (accredited centers only) – 120 pesos for each employee (or 50 pesos but you have to look for your own bathroom)
  3. Pest control certificate – 2,500 pesos


  1. Fire extinguisher of choice – 2,000 pesos (against the law)

So how much does this all add-up to? 19,595.00 pesos. “Holy crap,” I muttered to myself as I watched a bunch of other people put their cup of poo into a pink tray in the clinic.

So, if BIR is already taxing me, and QC needs to tax me as well, then fuck it right? I can’t believe the meager businesses along Maginhawa gets taxed this much — or do they? That’s the problem: it’s so unclear if you should be in the honest-abe club, or the Mr Lagay club, which exists to this very day. This is a miserable, deplorable state of commerce we’re in. It’s like being in Nigeria or Zimbabwe.

I wanted to quit. I wanted to close the business. Give-up. Call the Canadian embassy and beg for a visa. Please. Japan, Germany, Australia, Singapore — anywhere but this godforsaken country.

In the distance, across Kalayaan avenue, there’s a poster of Herbert Bautista, in his own geeky apperance, perhaps soliciting the effect of Ninoy Aquino with his glasses and all. I actually didn’t know he used to be a movie actor. Did you know he was a movie actor? Oh, God, the great Quezon City, with its swaths of open land, a clean sky-line, and our sole La Mesa Dam, has a movie actor for a mayor.

And the posters of councilors in my area? The barangay chairman? They are all goons! All the fees I pay for — the 500-peso barangay clearance, the “accredited” medical clinics and laboratories, the clandestine fire-extinguisher refilling stations — they all go to the pockets of these demonized people. Filipinos, stealing from Filipinos.

And so, I’m sorry Ateneo, I’m not going down THIS hill. I’m sorry UP Diliman, sinubukan kong maging tunay, palaban, pero wala naman tayong bayan eh. Our government centers and agencies have become day-care centers for inutile children.

I think about all the kids enrolling in big private schools, all the hardworking medicine and law students climbing the scaffolds of their industry, and the various courses offered by various universities and colleges. If you think you have valuable dreams and motivation to offer to society, I don’t think you have much elbow room in our triangulated, capitalist society. I think you should migrate. Now.


Post Author: cynicmandirigma

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76 Comments on "Migrate. Now. How government inefficiency in the Philippines chokes entrepreneurship"

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YEP, get out of the HELL-HOLE NOW, as fast as you can. You will live a life of poverty and misery if you stay in the Philippines.IT IS A CERTAINTY.
UNLESS, the current crop of Oligarchs/Politicians/Judges/Elites are eradicated(yes destroyed, along with their entire families) not a single thing will change.The never ending merry-go-round of Bull-shit Sneate Blue-Ribbon panes will fail to imprison a single thief even when caught red handed.


Unless you are a Chinese-Filipino (Chinoy) businessman, who has unlimited opportunities to bribe corrupt Failipino politicians, to allow you to monopolize the country’s economy and oppress the people.


As someone born into this country – Philippines – I couldn’t any more agree that it has now become a f*cking CESSPOOL.

Yes. You read that right. A f*cking CESSPOOL.

When I was 27, that was more than a decade ago, I also felt that way under the Macapagal government. I was so frustrated that I ate my promise of never ever leaving the Philippines inspite of the low salary income. But after working abroad I was awed by how much I changed. I became healthy, happy and stress free from all the BS of our situation there. But my family was still there so I came back to further my studies. This time its in line with medical since its the easiest way to get a permanent residence abroad.… Read more »
I agree. Like you my business is in QC. They make life hard for you so that mapipilitan ka mag lagay para matapos lang. Sa dami ng binabayaran you would think that their LGU service is atleast convenient but hindi madedepress ka lang. We can complain but will they actually listen? I highly doubt kung pansin tayo ng mga yan plus it will cost you time and money which we don’t really have. Only way to do that is if you have a padrino within their ranks and still you have to pay some sort of “SOP”. It’s a lose-lose… Read more »

The government people don’t seem to see themselves as helpers of business, they see themselves as the business. They collect payment, but for no product. It’s basically being scammed, like a pyramid scam. Or even like kings collecting tribute from their subjects. Time for the people to act and try something before really hightailing it for the hills.

Robert Haighton
I would like to read the story about when people start to leave for good and what will happen then. How many people are able and can afford to leave the country for good? So then the Philippines got stuck with only those who are un-educated, maybe illiterate and on low or no wage at all. Then what? I find it a real cheap cop-out. Have the guts to change yourself and your country. My ancestors fought for their freedom and their individual human rights. They didnt get it for free. And we are still fighting for new(er) freedoms and… Read more »

You are lucky you only have to coordinate with city hall. Imagine if you had to go through the other regulatory agencies too – DA, FDA, BOC.

DA and BOC will regularly make you waste 4 to 6 months for a simple piece of paper – it’s all just clerical work and 6 months.

FDA is notorious for making you wait 2 to 5 years for your applications. While your business is in limbo, your overhead starts piling up. Why? Because all that overhead is specified in their application requirements.


Do you know the feeling that you are taxed when you’re still an unborn? And then pay double, or even triple of them taxes (your income got taxes, the food you buy got VAT and the like)? I know that feeling.

Then I guess it’s okay to say to migrate (preferable Canada or Australia), then make a hate blog against PH government masquerading as an illuminating “opinion” blog.

Deep Throat
Sorry but I cannot blame government efficieny for your lack of income. There are two options for those trying business and having 0 income. Find another business since the current business seems not your thing. Or just get a job as a regular employee. Contrary to what Aeta thinks, business isn’t only for the Chinese Filipinos. It is for anyone with business acumen. Even if you migrate, and your attitude is like this, no good will come out if it since you will have the same problems of having zero income in other countries or lack in competency in business.… Read more »

pardon your story, i love our country in fact when i retired i wanna be in the secluded resort away from the hoopla of manila, philippines is a unique country there is more meets the eye, u just have patience we have 7,000 island u might exlpore palawan or visayas u see the potential. i am proud to be a filipino.

Malay Pinay

There is no hope for the Filippines,GET OUT NOW. Seeing how the Aquino’s have robbed everything, just as the Marcos did, and now all the country can offer the people is either Aquino or a Marcos to lead the country? That just proves this point.
Forget that which doesn’t love you, and the Philippines doesn’t love its people.If it did there would be much for everyone willing to work to get a piece.BUT,in the Filippines,hard work earns lees than peanuts, more like dog-shit.
Say good-bye to this hell-hole, or die a miserable death in it.


So…you learned late, you are being scammed by the government, fleeced to the last peso, to have your business permits.

I learned that many years ago. This was the reason, I migrated to the good old U.S.A. I furthered my studies. at least, I am making good.

It is easier to “grease the palms” of those, “permit people”. They will make it difficult for you; if you don’t “grease their palms”.

You do not understand, what they are telling you…”Grease, our palms; then; we make it easy for you!”…This is the “matuwid na daan” ni Aquino.

Sad to say PH government is not about public service, it’s about BIGTIME business. All you need to do is look at how much a typical mayor can make: Comment of Lou-Gumm-77… http://opinion.inquirer.net/93477/the-philippines-buwaya-problem RED ALERT!!MGA PATRIOTS, KILOS TAYO NG HUSTO. LISTAHAN NG ANOMALYA NI BINAY Ipamigay ng pamigay sa kapitbahay, sa mga pasahero ng mga jeepney, MRT at mga bus. Turuan natin ang mga bobotantes na niloloko ni Binay. 2 buwan nalang. 01. Foreign Bank Deposits……………………………………………….$100-200 million 02. 120 Condos…………………………Extorted from developers……..P10 billion 03. Ghost Employees………………….Kickback in 30 yrs…………….P1.5 billion 04. Maintenance Co……………………Kickback in 30 yrs……………..P1.5 billion 05. Makati Building………………………………………………………..P1.4… Read more »
Jerry Lynch
Back to the OP. About a year ago I approached Tagaytay City Hall to find out the requirements for opening a small business selling all Filipino made wood handicrafts. These things would be mostly marketed to western expats and Manila tourists who infest the city like rats every Saturday evening and all day Sunday. I was directed to the City Planner Office where some man kept telling me I had to put my shop somewhere directed by the “Ooben Tour.” After listening carefully while he repeated that at least 10 times I finally asked him to write it down, only… Read more »

If you declare yourself as a business you must make a profit. Otherwise you are a charity and giving money out. To make zero dollars voids you of a reason to trade so that is not Government fault that you fail. Still have to pay tax on exchanges.

i know pinoy who went to live in europe and be a Vet(animaldocter) over there. they make 4000 euro a month(the goverment takes half!!!! of that). of the 2000 euro his rental house of 100sqm with small garden cost 800 euro a month. driving car cost 500 euro a month. simple food and drinks 500 euro a month.Yeah it all sounds nice the highincome in europe and america but they dont tell you about the high prices(like 150 peso for small simple unbranded bottle of water). So this pinoy came back and is making now 70 th a month in… Read more »

It is not difficult to deceive the first time, for the deceived possesses no antibodies and is unvaccinated by suspicion.