Companies that fail to settle their tax obligations to the government will not be allowed to operate even if they gain a franchise from Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte said late Monday night.
Duterte made this warning, lamenting how a certain company failed to pay correct taxes.
“No franchise will ever be implemented. Maski na bigyan ninyo ng 5,000 franchise ‘yan. Hindi ko i-implement ‘yan (Even if you give them 5,000 franchises, I will not implement that). Settle your accounts with government,” he said in a taped speech.
Duterte questioned the real estate taxes being paid by the said company, which he did not identify, saying it occupies a 44,000 square meter area.
He said this company “abandoned” their duty to pay correct taxes yet sought protection for their businesses.
“Makita naman kung sino ‘yung binibira ko ‘yon ‘yung hindi bumabayad ng buwis at (You’ll know who I’m referring to because they don’t pay taxes and they’re) riding on the popularity because it’s so popular. It’s a fad now to have these kind of shows kung anu-ano (about different topics) but yet abandoning their duty to the government. And you ask protection from government in your business. In return, you pay your taxes correctly. You do not pay your taxes correctly, eh iyan ang nangyari sa inyo (that’s what you get),” he said.
Duterte said he would prevent any company from operating until they have fully settled their tax obligations to the government.
“There will be no opening. I assure you na lahat ng franchise ‘yan hindi i-implement — hindi ko i-implement ‘yan hanggang (all franchises will not be implemented until) they settle their full accounts with the government. Wala kang — sabihin lang ninyo na bigyan kayo ng franchise (Just say you have a franchise). For all I care, you can have a thousand franchise(s). You will not see the light of day there until you come to government with clean hands,” he said.
He also suggested having a talk with the company owners.
“Sabihan niyo ‘yang amo ninyo, bayaran ang tamang buwis (Tell your bosses to pay correct taxes). And before opening, we will have a short — short, very short serious talk. Do not compel me to do something which is not lawful. Just because you give them a franchise, it does not follow that all of their misdeeds in the past are condoned and forgiven,” he said.
Duterte emphasized that he has no personal grudge against any company, insisting that he only wants firms to pay the correct taxes.
“Bayaran mo lang ang gobyerno, ako sasaludo ako sa inyo limang beses (Just pay the government, and I’ll salute you five times) in full attention. Hindi ako magalit. Presidente ako eh, ‘yung maliliit na bagay na ganoon personal (I won’t get angry, I’m the President, over little things that are too personal). But the bigger issue, the bigger picture in the background is really ‘yung mga atraso ninyo sa taxes. Iyan ang totoo diyan (your tax obligations. That’s the truth),” he said.
He did not identify the company or companies he was referring to, but his speech came after a filing of a franchise renewal bill of media giant ABS-CBN which expired last year.
On May 5 last year, ABS-CBN ceased its broadcast operations a day after the expiration of the network’s legislative franchise, following the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease and desist order.
The House Committee on Legislative Franchises on July 10, 2020 voted against ABS-CBN’s franchise bid for another 25 years in a 70-11 vote.
Last Jan. 5, Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto filed a bill that would give broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp. a fresh 25-year legislative franchise. (PNA)
Photo Credit: www.pcoo.gov.ph