President Duterte has vowed to disallow the franchise operations of companies if they do not settle tax obligations to the government.
The President lamented that some have abandoned their duty to pay the correct taxes and yet seek state protection for their businesses.
“There will be no opening. I assure you na lahat ng franchise ‘yan hindi i-implement … hindi ko i-implement ‘yan hanggang they settle their full accounts with government (I assure you that all franchises will not be implemented until they settle their full accounts with government),” Duterte said in his televised address Monday.
“For all I care, you can have a thousand franchises. You will not see the light of day there until you come to government with clean hands. Ika nga eh, ‘He who comes (in) to equity must come with clean hands,” he said.
Duterte explained that he has no personal grudge against any company, adding that he only wants firms to pay the correct taxes.
“Bayaran mo lang ang gobyerno, ako sasaludo ako sa inyo limang beses in full attention. (Just pay the government, I will salute you five times in full attention),” he holds.
“Hindi ako magalit. Presidente ako eh, ‘yung maliliit na bagay na ganoon personal. But the bigger issue, the bigger picture in the background is really ‘yung mga atraso ninyo sa taxes (I won’t get angry. I”m the President. Those are small personal things. But the bigger issue, the bigger picture in the background is really the tax obligations),” he said.
He insisted that “no franchise will ever be implemented” if taxes are not paid correctly and promptly. “Maski na bigyan ninyo ng 5,000 franchise ‘yan. Hindi ko i-implement ‘yan (Even if you give them 5,000 franchises, I won’t implement that). Settle your accounts with government,” he said.
Duterte also questioned the real estate taxes being paid by a company, noting that it occupies a 44,000 square meter area.
Before resuming operations, the President also proposed a “very short serious talk” with the company owners.
“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.
The President did not identify the company he was referring to during his speech Monday night. His remarks however came following the filing of a franchise renewal bill of ABS-CBN Network, which shut down last year over an expired franchise.
Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos Recto has filed a bill seeking to revive the franchise of the Lopez-owned media network for 25 years. A similar bill was recently filed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III at the Senate.
Asked if the President was referring to ABS-CBN network, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said: “You can make your own conclusions.”