GITAGUM, Misamis Oriental – Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso on Tuesday said he supports giving amnesty and tax holidays for MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) affected by Covid-19 but not against influential and wealthy families who refused to pay their multi-billion peso worth of taxes to government.
The 47-year-old presidential candidate made this clear when asked by media on his take regarding former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s proposal of giving tax breaks to MSMEs to help small businessmen to recover from the impact of pandemic-related lockdowns.
“That’s good, gusto natin yun. Pero yung tax amnesty dapat sa mga negosyante na nahihirapan. Dapat lang natin silang tulungan. But the thing is yung mga dapat bantayan natin, yang amnestiya na ‘yan na ‘di papabor sa mga pamilyang may utang sa bansa. ‘Yun ang tingnan natin na baka mapapasok tayo sa wala sa lugar,” Moreno said.
Moreno, however, maintained that before Marcos Jr. makes any calls on government to implement any tax amnesty or tax holiday to MSMEs, his family should pay first the P203 billion estate tax which they owe the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
“But again, anything na makakatulong sa ating mga kababayang naghahanap-buhay na sya rin at the same time nagbibigay ng hanap-buhay sa mga tao, we always wanted it that way,” he said.
Moreno reiterated his vow to collect the P203 billion estate tax debts of the Marcoses, planning to utilize part of the funds to strengthen the Philippine Coast Guard’s maritime patrol capabilities by buying medium-sized vessels.
“Kasi sayang naman magagamit natin ‘yun, for example, let’s just say ngayon may insidente na naman sa news about West Philippine Sea. For purposes of simple mathematics, if a Navy ship, Coast Guard, medium-size, ‘yung katamtaman lang with speed, it costs about $10 million, that’s P500 million most likely. Kung bumili tayo ng sampu nun, P5 billion pesos lang,” Moreno said.
“Marami pa rin tayong magagamit sa P203 billion. Fertilizer para sa magsasaka, ayuda sa tao. Kasi talagang grabe ang krisis na kinakaharap ng tao ngayon. So, marami tayong magagamit. Anyway, ang maganda naman diyan, gagamitin natin for public service sa taong bayan,” Moreno added.
The Manila city mayor in recent weeks has called on the Marcos family to pay the P203 billion estate tax which remained unpaid despite a 1997 Supreme Court decision.
Moreno went on to say that if he becomes president, he will surely collect the Marcos debt and use it as Ayuda or cash assistance to millions of Filipinos affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Moreno explained that in the case of the City of Manila, they have twice declared General Tax Amnesty to those who failed to pay business or real property taxes, regulatory fees, and other business charges.
“Twice, upon assumption of office at tsaka nitong pandemya nag amnestiya talaga kami, general amnesty, hindi lamang sa negosyante pati sa mga nagbabayad ng amilyar. So, ‘yung kinukwento nya (Marcos) eh nangyari na sa Maynila, and that can happen also in the entire country,” Moreno said.
“Pero, we have to very careful. Baka maano tayo kasi malalaking pera rin ‘yung pwede nating makolekta like mga P203 billion, mga P2 billion, o millions ‘yun, ngayon. I think marami pa tayong pwedeng makuha as a matter of source due, long overdue sa state kasi nga, importante kung kayo nagbabayad ng buwis dapat lahat nagbabayad ng buwis,” he said.
Asked if he will allow the Marcoses to apply for tax amnesty if he becomes president, Moreno said he will not because the money they still owe can be used by the government to buy rice and feed millions of Filipinos amid the ongoing pandemic.
Moreno previously stated in an interview that if the BIR would be able to collect P203 billion estate taxes from the Marcos family, the amount collected could feed rice to 59.7 million Filipinos daily for 12 months.
Moreno’s computation was based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which said that the per capita rice consumption per year among Filipinos is 103.25 kilograms or a little more than two sacks of rice, with each sack containing 50 kilos.
Based on the PSA data, P203 billion can buy 119.4 million sacks of rice which can feed 59.7 million Filipino with each having two sacks of rice worth P3,400 at P34 per kilo.
Team Isko’s political and campaign strategist Lito Banayo also appealed to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to order the BIR, which is under his department, to immediately collect the P203-B Marcos debt and use it as cash assistance to workers who lost their jobs as well as jeepney drivers who have been bearing the brunt of the unabated increase in fuel prices.#