BIR collected P582-M from 196 closed establishments – DOF

Robie de Guzman   •   December 15, 2020   •   1060

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has collected a total of P582.5 million in taxes from shuttered establishments in the first 11 months of the year, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Tuesday.

In a statement, the DOF said the BIR collected this amount from January to November this year from 196 commercial establishments that were padlocked for failure to either register or pay the correct amount of taxes.

The operations conducted against the padlocked establishments were pursuant to Revenue Memorandum Order (RMO) No. 3-2009, otherwise known as the Oplan Kandado Program, the agency said.

In his report to the finance department, BIR Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa said the bureau collected an additional P34.5 million in taxes in the last quarter from another 18 commercial establishments that were padlocked under its Oplan Kandado program.

With this, from the previous amount of P547.9 million collected under this program from 178 establishments that were closed down in the first nine months of 2020, the DOF said the total amount has increased to P582.5 million as of November this year.

Guballa also reported that the 103 complaints involving an estimated P4.96 billion in tax liabilities that it filed before the Department of Justice are now under preliminary investigation.

Last year, the BIR collected a total of P1.92 billion under its Oplan Kandado program as a result of the temporary closure of 743 establishments for various violations of the National Internal Revenue Code.

BIR’s performance under the Oplan Kandado program in 2019 was a 218.88-percent improvement over its 233 closures of establishments reported in 2018 and a 140.76-percent increase in collections amounting to P799.47 million during that year, the DOF said.

DOF assures enough funds for procuring vaccine supply

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Finance (DOF) on Tuesday (June 15) assured that the national government has enough budget to procure coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine doses.

During the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on the COVID-19 vaccination drive, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government’s P88.6 billion budget is enough to vaccinate 70 million adult Filipinos. This, he said, will cover 149 million vaccine doses.

Dominguez also said that the government will be able to obtain 200 million doses if the private sector will also procure around 25 million doses to be added to the 30 million doses that “are currently in the pipeline for negotiations”.

When asked about the price range for the procurement of vaccines, Dominguez replied it ranges from P323.75 – P1,323.30 per dose. He, however, did not disclose which brands, saying it would violate the non-disclosure agreements with vaccine manufacturers.

Senator Franklin Drilon stated the need for the Senate as well as the public to know the price range of the procured COVID-19 vaccines.

“To be clear, wala po akong sinasabing may nagnakaw. Maliwanag po iyan. Tinatanong ko lang kung magkano ba dahilan sa ito’y obligasyon natin bilang mga senador, obligasyon natin kung paano natin ginagastos ang kanilang pera,” he said.

(To be clear, I was not saying there is corruption. It is clear. What I am asking is how much were the doses since this is our obligation as Senators. It is our obligation to know how we spend public funds.)

“This is a public forum, we cannot disclose publicly. Now if COA [Commission on Audit] wants to audit us, it is open for audit. I personally designed the financing of this involving ADB [Asian Development Bank], AIIB [Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank], and involving World Bank as a double-check. Because they will not pay for that if they see that we are overpaying,” Dominguez said.

The government is also reviewing to have an additional P20 billion to procure doses for the vaccination of children ages 12 to 15 years old. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it already released over P660 billion funds for the government COVID-19 response.

Meanwhile, the first batch of vaccine supply for the private sector will arrive on June 17.

Vaccine Czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. also said that private companies will give excess doses to the local government.

“Most of the private sector indicated to me that they will donate it to the LGU. considering that when we procured the vaccine the intention of the private sector is really to help the government in producing the dosage,” he said. -AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

We have enough money to vaccinate entire adult population — Finance chief

Maris Federez   •   June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III is confident that the country has sufficient funds to have the entire adult population of around 70 million and the teenage population of around 15 million, vaccinated.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte on Talk to the Nation, Monday night, Dominguez said that Congress has authorized the government to spend P85 billion for the vaccines.

Funding for this will be coming primarily from the budget of the Department of Health in the amount of P2.5-B and the Bayanihan 2 amounting to P10-B billion as part of the General Appropriations Act.

Dominguez added that the department was able to borrow a total of P58.5 billion from Official Development Assistance financing firms such as the World Bank (P23.9-B), Asian Development Bank (P20.3-B), and the Asian Infrastructure [Investment] Bank (P14.3-B).

The Finance chief also said that they are sourcing up to P11.5-B and contingency funds of another P2.5-B.

“But the total so far is we have 85 billion. Now, the money is there so we have enough to buy… With P85-B, we can buy 140 billion — ah 140 million doses of vaccines. Now 140 million doses of vaccines can inoculate — can vaccinate 70 million Filipinos. Now 70 million Filipinos are the entire adult population. So we have enough money to vaccinate the entire adult population,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez also assured that once the Department of Health and the inter-agency COVID-19 task force (IATF) include the country’s teen population of around 15 million in the vaccination program, there will be enough funds to cover it.

“Now, if we have to vaccinate children from 12 to 15… I don’t know if that’s authorized already — from 12 to 15? […] We estimate that will cost another P20 billion but we have enough reserves to cover that amount of money. So we have enough,” he added.

Dominguez stressed that the government’s fund is sufficient for the vaccination program.

“Tamang-tama, sapat po ‘yong ano, ‘yong pera natin para sa vaccination. So we don’t have to worry. The money is there and we will certainly be able to vaccinate the entire adult population plus the teenagers who are I think around 15 million, right? Around 15 million Filipinos. So total 85 million Filipinos,” Dominguez assured. —/mbmf

BIR urged to suspend imposition of tax hike on private schools

Robie de Guzman   •   June 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday called on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to suspend the imposition of a 25 percent corporate income tax on private schools, warning that the added burden on struggling institutions amid the coronavirus pandemic could lead to more school closures, job losses, and a more restricted access to education.

In a statement, Gatchalian said BIR’s Revenue Regulation (RR) 5-2021 runs counter to the intention of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act or the CREATE Act (Republic Act No. 11534) which seeks to impose a one percent tax rate on proprietary educational institutions for a three-year period.

The law also provides that these institutions have to pay ten percent tax on their taxable income, he added.

Under the CREATE Law, ‘proprietary’ means a private hospital or private school maintained and administered by private individuals or groups. These institutions should have an issued permit to operate from the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

But based on RR 5-2021, proprietary educational institutions have to be non-profit to avail of the reduced tax rate.

“If these rules are imposed, private schools’ income tax rate would increase by 150 percent,” said Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

In an earlier statement, Gatchalian called the tax rule “ill-timed” considering how private schools are trying to stay afloat.

The senator cited the March 2021 Labor Force Survey, which showed that the education sub-industry had the largest decrease in the number of employed persons from February to March 2021 at 248,000.

He noted that last February, DepEd reported that 929 private schools did not operate for the school year (SY) 2020-2021. The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) also said in a statement that enrollment in private K-12 schools dropped by over 900,000 compared to the previous school year.

“Sa panahong karamihan sa ating mga private schools ay nahihirapang magpatuloy ng operasyon sa gitna ng pandemya, hindi napapanahon at hindi tamang patawan natin sila ng karagdagang buwis bilang dagdag pasanin,” Gatchalian said.

The senator likewise said that he is mulling to file a resolution that would urge the BIR to suspend the imposition of the tax hike on private schools.

 

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