A congressional leader has thumbed down the proposed closure of Mighty Corporation, which is facing a P9.5-billion tax evasion case filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), saying at least 6,000 direct jobs are on the line if the cigarette maker is ordered closed.
“The President already ordered to deal with them thru out of court settlements. They (Mighty Corporation executives) should be penalized, but their operations should not be cancelled,” Rep. Randolph Ting of Cagayan, chairman of the House Committee on Labor, said in a statement released on Labor Day.
Ting views BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay’s threat to close down Mighty Corporation as shortsighted since Mighty has 6,000 direct and indirect employees on top of some 55,000 tobacco farmers who rely Mighty to buy their produce.
Ting said the BIR’s stance runs counter to President Rodrigo Duterte’s position, which is for the government to enter into out-of-court settlements with companies facing tax evasion cases in order to generate funds for social services.
“This Mighty Corporation is already an established company, a Filipino-owned firm that has been providing jobs for Filipinos for a very long time. Without it, where will their people go for jobs? Besides, the constituents of all tobacco-producing provinces will also be affected should tobacco farmers no longer plant tobacco, making them disqualified from getting their allocation under the Sin Tax Law,” Ting pointed out.
He argued that government officials should work on ensuring investments and job generation for Filipinos, not the other way around.
“We should allow them to correct the concerns raised against them. He (Dulay) should follow the lead of the President,” Ting added.
Earlier, Rep. Manuel Lopez of Manila also opposed the BIR’s court battle with Mighty Corporation, citing President Duterte’s stance that an out of court settlement with Mighty could fund the upgrade of public hospitals in Tondo, Manila which include Ospital ng Tondo, Tondo Medical Center and Gat Andres Bonifacio Medical Center.
“Funding for these hospitals is very good news for my constituents because it will provide immediate relief to indigent patients,” Lopez said in an earlier statement.
Aside from Tondo hospitals, President Duterte has said he could use the money to also build hospitals in Basilan and Jolo, Sulu, as well as for building a relocation site for informal settlers.