MANILA—The American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (AmCham) lauds effort of the Duterte administration to fight smuggling and tax evasion in the business sector.
“The American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines commends and applauds recent decisive actions taken by the Duterte administration to raid stocks of manufactured products with counterfeit internal revenue stamps and thereby promote corporate tax compliance and ensure a level playing field for business in the country,” the business group said in a statement.
AmCham noted recent raid activities, including the seizure by the Bureau of Custom of Php 2.0-billion worth of smuggled and counterfeit tobacco products in warehouses in San Simon, Pampanga as well as in General Santos and Zamboanga.
“With these developments, AmCham encourages the Philippine government to proceed vigorously to investigate the case against the said manufacturer, as the recent seizures may be the tip of an iceberg of tax evasion going back several years,” AmCham said.
“Based on the investigation, we call upon the government to prosecute the case for tax evasion and attempted bribery,” it added.
AmCham also pushes the government to take action against government officials involved in facilitating the tax evasion.
It noted that aside from tobacco products, smuggling of imported goods occurs in petroleum and other products.
“The business community thrives on the rule of law, and, at a time when the government is asking for new taxes, it is especially important to strongly enforce existing revenue laws and to expand the tax base,” the business group said.
“Effective enforcement will encourage potential investors looking to do business in the Philippines and is an essential stepping stone in making the Philippines the next Asian powerhouse economy,” AmCham said.