Poe blasts BIR on failure to give info on franchise applicants

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 09 2021 08:49 PM

Grace Poe via George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
Committee on Public Services chairman Sen. Grace Poe during a Senate hearing on December 11, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday criticized the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for not publicly disclosing information about the tax status of franchise applicants.

During a Senate public services committee hearing, Poe, who is the panel's chairperson, said the BIR's lack of preparedness will affect 16 telco franchise applications and 12 broadcast applications. She said this will also affect the franchise renewal of Air Philippines Corp.

"Bago kami magbigay ng prangkisa sa isang kumpanya, tinitiyak naming wala silang pananagutan. Eh kung may utang sa inyo? Ito ang pinakamahusay na paraan para makakolekta kayo sa kanila dahil nag-a-apply sila ng prangkisa," she said.

Aside from the BIR, officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) were grilled by senators to disclose if franchise applicants have followed regulations or have violations during their process of application.

If the SEC, NTC and others see a violation of any regulation by certain applicants, their applications are set aside to give them time to settle them.

Poe said the Senate panel needs to have their report soon on the franchise applicants.

"Magpapahinga ang Senado sa susunod na linggo. Hangga’t maaari, gusto sana naming tapusin ang aming committee report at sana madala na namin sa floor sa susunod na linggo," she said.

The senator said resource persons from the agencies had enough time to disclose details about the franchise applicants since invitations were handed out to them 3 weeks ago.

Poe also blasted the BIR after its officials did not attend a hearing on the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer Act which is being pushed by the executive department.

— Report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News

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