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Palace: Firms seeking franchise should settle tax obligation

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s warning against companies that fail to settle their tax obligations to the government is applicable to all including ABS-CBN Corp., Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Lahat po iyan ay addressed sa mga naga-apply ng prangkisa (His statement is address to companies that are applying for a franchise), And insofar as ABS-CBN is one of them, I guess it is a safe conclusion it is also applicable to ABS-CBN,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.

Roque made the remarks, when quizzed if Duterte’s latest statement was specifically directed at ABS-CBN.

On Monday night, Duterte said he would not allow any tax-evading firms to operate with a franchise, unless they are able to settle their tax obligations with the government.

Duterte did not mention a specific company during his weekly public address, but his speech came following the filing of the franchise renewal bill of ABS-CBN at the House of Representatives.

Roque clarified that Duterte’s speech aired on Monday night was unedited.

Wala pong edit doon sa portion na yun. Wala pong ibang sinabi si Presidente (His speech was not edited. The President did not mention anything). And you know the rule, a [spokesperson] cannot add, cannot deduct from what the President said,” he said.

Makati City Pabakuna

He said Duterte’s statement applies to all firms with tax deficiencies.

It applies to all those who want a franchise [but have unsettled tax obligations],” he said.

Last Jan. 5, Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto filed a bill seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise for 25 years.

ABS-CBN ceased its broadcast operations on May 5, 2020, or a day after the expiration of the network’s legislative franchise, following the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease and desist order.

On July 10, 2020, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises denied the ABS-CBN’s application for a new 25-year congressional franchise to allow the embattled media firm to resume its broadcast operations.

The House lawmakers based their decision to reject ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bid on the network’s supposed labor and tax violations, among others. Philippine News Agency