Thursday, August 28, 2014

Goodbye Facebook and Twitter

by Antonio C. Antonio
August 28, 2014

“Environmental communication, as a practice, includes a broad spectrum of interactions ranging from interpersonal communications to specific forums to social and mainstream media.  As environmental communications is a practice and a multidisciplinary field of study that has effects and influence in the daily lives of people, the conduct of businesses, government functions and most, if not all, aspects of human existence in relation to his environment, its importance cannot be treated as mundane.  Environmental communication highlights the need to realize that understanding HEI (human-environment interaction) is not the product of science alone but a product of participatory interaction among people in academic discussions, public policy fora and debates, social and mainstream media information and feedback, and even ordinary daily conversations.  The most cost effective and cost efficient mode of environmental communication is through social media.” (Antonio, 2014)

The Philippines has been dubbed as “the social media capital of the world”… perhaps, because of the fact that the Filipinos are the most friendly and sociable people on earth.  We have broken down racial barriers and managed to spread our goodwill and friendship to the other parts of the world using social media.  Social media is also used in communicating advocacies… especially a pro-environment advocacy which is struggling to find a universal niche.  But as things are going, sooner or later (but hopefully not), social media may also be costly or non-existent.  If this happens, pro-environment advocates will be hard-pressed on their environmental communication effort.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue has already served a request to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to block several ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and several international websites for failure to remit proper taxes from operating within the Philippine internet domain… to include social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.  Allegedly, these business entities failed to submit tax declarations from their operations in the country.  BIR Commissioner Kim Henares estimates about PhP 350 million have been transacted through Facebook and Twitter (alone) since 2009 when they became popular in the Philippines and started offering their websites as advertising venues.

The top 10 ISPs in the Philippines are (1) Smart Broadband, Inc., (2) Globe Telecom, (3) Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, (4) Sun Cellular, (5) Bayan Telecommunications, Inc., (6) Meridian Telekoms, Inc., (7) Sky Cable, (8) Eastern Telecom Philippines, Inc., (9) Bell Telecommunication Philippines, Inc., and (10) Wi-tribe Telecom, Inc.  And the total number of subscribers for Internet services in the Philippines is estimated at 5.3 million (as of 2012).

The questions that are foremost in the minds of Filipino netizens will most likely be: (1) “Will Facebook, Twitter and other international websites cooperate, submit tax declarations and pay the corresponding taxes to the Philippine government?; (2) Will the ISPs step forward and own up to these tax deficiencies?; and, (3) Will 5.3 million Filipinos say: “Goodbye, Facebook and Twitter”?

Just my little thoughts…

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