ABS-CBN officials deny its foundation is a 'tax shield'

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2020 11:01 PM | Updated as of Jul 02 2020 01:02 AM

ABS-CBN officials deny its foundation is a 'tax shield' 1
ABS-CBN headquarters in Quezon City on June 30, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - ABS-CBN Corp. donated P129 million from 2015 to 2019 to its foundation to support its social development programs, lawmakers were told Wednesday during the 10th hearing on the network's franchise bid.

For 2020, the media and entertainment company has donated P52 million to support relief efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. (ALKFI) managing director Susan Afan told the House panels on legislative franchises and good government and public accountability.

"Katulad ngayon, pandemya. Nagbigay sila ng cash donation sa amin ng P52 million," she said in response to questions from Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla.

"No'ng Yolanda, nagbigay sila ng P122 million. Over and above po ang ibinibigay nila sa aming cash subsidy of an additional P26 million a year," she added.

Afan also said the parent company in 2009 donated some 780,995 shares to the foundation, which is currently equivalent to P11 million.

However, Remulla, who represents Cavite's 7th district, raised concerns the foundation was being used a tax shield.

"'Pag kayo ho ay nagdo-donate, hindi ibig sabihin, buong puso niyong binibigay. Binabawas niyo rin yan para mabawas po sa buwis na binabayaran niyo," he said.

In response to the Cavite lawmaker's allegation, ABS-CBN chief financial officer Aldrin Cerrado, said, "Donations, under the revenue code, is a deductible expense."

ABS-CBN chairman Mark Lopez also chimed in and said, "On our donation, the tax credit is not the motivation for making those donation... It is also allowed."

The ALKFI is the broadcaster's public service arm, which has 3 flagship programs.

They are "Bantay Kalikasan," the foundation's environment advocacy program; "Sagip Kapamilya," which provides quick response and emergency humanitarian aid to families affected by calamities; and "Bantay Bata," which started as a child welfare program for children at risk but has evolved to include helping indigent children through medical assistance and scholarships.

In March 2020, the foundation launched the campaign "Pantawid ng Pag-ibig" to assist local governments provide food and basic necessities to poor families unable to source livelihood as a result of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

As of July 1, the foundation raised P425 million in cash donations and pledges for the coronavirus relief efforts. Some P415 million worth of goods have been delivered to different local government units (LGUs).

"Dahil sa inyo, nakalikom na ang #PantawidNgPagibig ng Php425,731,260 para sa mga pamilyang hindi makapaghanapbuhay dahil sa quarantine," ALKFI wrote on Facebook.

"Ang inyong donasyon ay ipambibili ng kanilang pagkain at iba pang pangangailangan. Maraming salamat, Kapamilya! Sana ay patuloy ang inyong pagsuporta dahil kailangan pa rin nila ang inyong tulong ngayong krisis," it added.

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