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No sacred cows: Joel Villanueva reminds foreign firms to pay right taxes

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The Philippines is always open for business as long as companies conform with prevailing requirements and “pay” its correct taxes due to the government.

Senator Joel Villanueva stressed this on Wednesday following the recent move of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to ordee the closure of a POGO (Philippine offshore gaming operations) service provider in Parañaque City for failing to pay taxes.

“We credit our finance department for their relentless effort to keep business in check especially in settling their obligations to the government,” Villanueva said.

“We could only hope that the BIR’s steely determination rubs off on the inter-agency task force assembled to stem the tide that is the influx of illegal workers,” he said.

He deplored that since its organization in May, the task force “has yet to mount a single round of joint inspections similar to the BIR’s effort.”

He said that concerned agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in particular should be at the forefront of inspections such as this.

“They should be coordinating with the member-agencies of the inter-agency task force consistent with their mandate,” said Villanueva, chairman of the Senate labor committee.

“Had representatives from the DoLE and BI joined the BIR’s operation this morning, a proper labor inspection in the office premises could have been done, while immigration officials could have inspected the work visas of the employees,” he said.

Villanueva added, “We could have maximized the opportunity that BIR already had.”

“We expect DoLE to stay committed to its mandate under the Labor Code to only accept foreign workers in the country if there are no other capable, able, and willing Filipino to do the job,” he said.

He looks forward to the BI’s commitment to issue guidelines “clarifying the working definitions of the 14 occupations for which it could issue special work permits” for foreigners.

“We hope that the inter-agency task force gets to fulfill the mandate they are supposed to do, and that is to prevent illegal foreign workers from coming into our country and take jobs away from Filipinos,” he said.

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