80 firms in Misamis Oriental asked to pay P2-B in taxes

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Some 80 private companies, including a coal-fired power plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental were ordered to pay more than P2 billion in back taxes or be phased out of the province’s industrial economic zone.

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The Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corp. (Phividec), a government-owned firm that runs an industrial economic zone in Misamis Oriental, has issued the notice of tax collection on Moday to companies operating in the eco-zone.

Benjo Benaldo, a Phivedec director, said he has a marching order to collect the back taxes against Steag Power Corp. and several other companies or ask them to leave the industrial zone.

He said that companies, including a sintering plant and the container port have outstanding unpaid taxes amounting to more than P2 billion as of July 2017. Some of these companies are no longer in operation, he added.

The existing big companies that owed back taxes to the national government are the 220-megawatt Steag coal-fired power plant —P447,212,139.85; Mindanao International Container Terminal, Inc.—P342,438,335.33 and the Philippine Sintering Corp.—P131,442,768.66.

According to Benaldo, the amount of P1 billion could mean 1,000 barangay (village) health centers; 2,000 classrooms; 2,500 housing units, or 1 million beneficiaries of the government’s livelihood programs.

“Initially, we would explore the legal implications of the matter with the company before we will take the necessary action. If after exhausting all legal means, the companies still refused to pay the taxes, then we would advise them to get out of Phividec,” Benaldo said.

The Phividec, created on August 13, 1974 by Presidential Decree 538, is a corporation owned and controlled by the Philippine government.

Under its charter, the PIE-MO mandates the government to “levy, assess, and collect real property tax on real properties within the industrial economic zone.”

Benaldo said 50 percent of the tax collected would be remitted to the national government treasury to build infrastructure, hospitals, construct roads, buy medicines, provide education and livelihood.

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