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Firm seeks Customs lifting of ‘sealed’ plane

  • Written by Paul Gutierrez
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 1223

A PRIVATE air charter service is seeking clearance from Bureau of Customs (BOC) commissioner, Nicanor Faeldon for the ‘unsealing’ of one of its aircrafts which was grounded last month for alleged non-payment of import duties and taxes to the government.

Fiedmi Fontamillas, chief financial officer of ‘Skyjet Airlines,’ in a letter to Faeldon last April 4, said they are willing to post a “bond deemed sufficient” by the bureau in exchange for allowing them to use their ‘BAE-146-100’ aircraft, in time for the long Holy Week vacation period.
   
The bond would remain effective until such time that the bureau has made a final assessment on the amount of taxes and duties the company has to pay to settle its obligations with the government.
   
The bureau last month, thru a “LOA” (letter of authority) signed by Faeldon, “sealed” the medium size, ‘short-distance hauled’ commercial aircraft with registration number, RPC8538 for alleged non-payment of import duties and taxes amounting to some P15 million, sources said.
   
However, Fontamillas averred to Faeldon they purchased the aircraft from its previous owner “in good faith and without knowledge and reason to believe” that it has unsettled tax obligations.
   
The official added they never encountered any problem when renewing its registration with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
   
BoC intelligence service (CIIS) director, Neil Estrella, in a talk with this writer, said there is reason to believe that Faeldon would agree to the offer of Skyjet which also informed Faeldon it has been suffering “financial losses and besmirched reputation” since the aircraft was ordered grounded by the customs chief.
   
Estrella also called on other private air charter companies to follow the lead of Skyjet and step forward to voluntarily settle their tax obligations.
   
“Comm. Faeldon has already signed other LOAs against other air charter companies and it is to their best interest to voluntarily settle their tax liabilities,” Estrella pointed out further.