Diokno bats for tax amnesty declaration


The government should consider implementing a tax amnesty as it has already established its capability to go after large tax evaders, the country’s budget chief said.

“I think we have established enough credibility at this time. Maybe in a year it could be implemented. We will discuss that but I think informally we already did,” Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said at a Philippine Economic Society conference on Wednesday.

The Budget chief said the government has shown that it can push erring taxpayers to pay, noting settlements made by flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) and tobacco firm Mighty Corp. and Sunvar Realty Development Corp’s decision to give up the disputed Mile Long property in Makati.

Mighty, the country’s second-largest cigarette manufacturer, offered in July to pay P25 billion to settle tax evasion cases. The offer was accepted and the firm was subsequently sold to Japan Tobacco, Inc.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd has said that including taxes and other fees, the government will gain P30 billion from the settlement, described as the biggest-ever from a single corporate entity.

PAL, meanwhile last week settled a P6-billion debt owed to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the Manila International Airport Authority. President Rodrigo Duterte had threatened to close the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 2, which is being used exclusively by the carrier, if payment was not made.

Sunvar, owned by the Prieto family, vacated Mile Long in August following repeated tirades by Duterte and the government’s issuance of an eviction notice. The Prietos also decided to sell the Philippine Daily Inquirer to a businessman said to be allied to Duterte.

Just last month, a Makati court also ordered Sunvar to pay P2 billion in back rentals.


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