The President had announced a rather different approach to deal with big tax evaders. He said that he’d rather demand a one-time payment from tax evaders and prefer out-of-court settlements, stating that it takes years to resolve a case and to even extract the given fine.
Duterte pointed out that he would rather have the amount to be paid in full in order to use it to build and improve healthcare services in rural towns such as Basilan and Jolo, and also in impoverished urban places such as Tondo in Manila.
Recently, he had declined Chinese gaming tycoon Jack Lam’s offer to pay for his liabilities in eight installments. Lam had left the country after the President accused him of bribery and economic sabotage last December for bribing immigration authorities to allow the entry of more than 1,000 undocumented Chinese workers for his casino.
It has been reported that Lam owes P13.9 billion to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Despite the grave offense and the fact that Lam can no longer be arrested, the President said that he could allow the gaming tycoon to come back and do business in the country if he paid his dues. Lam should also agree to a renegotiation of his contract where he originally only had to remit one percent of his revenues to the government.
Other lawmakers see this as a good scheme in order to cater to the public’s needs and a way to improve efforts in addressing poverty.
For Manila 1st District Representative, Manuel Luis Lopez, raising instant funds for the basic social services for the lower income citizens is a guaranteed victory. Lopez is the representative of Tondo, Manila and also a vice chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development.
Currently, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada also expressed his support of Duterte’s proposal and had appealed to the Department of Finance to accept it. Estrada also pointed out that it takes an average of two years to extract settlements from cases filed in court.
Tobacco giant Mighty Corp also faced a proposed P1 billion fine. If in the event it has been settled out of court, it would be enough to improve hospitals in Tondo.