THE former chairman of the House committee on legislative franchises yesterday said it was the Senate during the recently-concluded 16th Congress that introduced an amendment to the legislative franchise of Belle Telecommunications giving the telecommunication firm an exemption from paying local taxes.
This was stressed by former Marikina City Rep. Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro, the ex-panel chairman, following complaints why the granting of tax exemption to Belle Corporation, owned by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), did not pass the House committee on ways and means then chaired by Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, now a Deputy Speaker this 17th Congress.
“It was the Senate that introduced the amendment which was concurred in the plenary deliberation when the Senate version was transmitted back to the House of Representatives. The transmittal letter from Senate can speak for itself,” said Teodoro, now a mayor of Marikina City, refering to the Senate committee on public services then headed as chairman by former Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, who lost in the last senatorial poll.
Quimbo and Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu lamented the tax exemption given to Belle Telecommunications.
In a related development, Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy Alvarado expressed support to Abu’s proposal to streamline tax incentives to all telecommunication firms, noting that local government units (LGUs) should not be deprived of taxes that could possibly be levied on telecommunication companies.
“I fully support the move to rationalize tax incentives to telcos,” Sy-Alvarado said, adding that LGUs should have a share in the revenues coming from telecommunication companies which, in the case of Bell Telecommunications, will be given only to the national government.
“Kawawa naman ang mga municipalities, cities and provinces like my home province of Bulacan,” Sy-Alvarado said.