Tom’s move gets support, raises suspicion
RAMA DADS ON BUSINESS CLOSURES
“PADLOCKING businesses should only be a last resort.”
Some Barug Team Rama councilors said this as they expressed support on Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s crackdown on businesses that don’t pay taxes and don’t have business permits.
“There is a procedure. I don’t know if these were followed. But for me, I will support if there is really a violation to the ordinances like not paying taxes. I will support going after these people. We need business taxes to run the city government,” said Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia.
He said it is but right for the city to go after businesses that do not pay proper taxes.
For his part, Councilor Jose Daluz III said he hopes the city’s executive department observed due process before finally ordering the closure of these establishments.
“There should be basic due process. They should be called and asked to pay. And if they did not pay, I hope the mayor still did something before they were closed. Closing a business should be a last resort,” he said.
Their response came after Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña ordered the closure of three more businesses in the city for allegedly not paying local taxes and for operating without a renewed business permit.
Time Out Restaurant and D’ALLEY @ Jeshain Cafe were padlocked by City Hall’s Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, Enhancement (Probe) team last Thursday afternoon.
The two establishments failed to pay the local business tax, social amelioration tax, fees and other charges and were found to have been operating with expired business permits.
These allegedly violate the provisions of the Tax Ordinance of Cebu City.
Another establishment, Ed’s Tambayan, was also issued a closure order only for operating without a business permit. Their closure is yet to be implemented by Probe team on Monday.
But other Barug councilors raised suspicion over the new set of closure orders.
Councilor Eduardo Rama Jr. pointed out that the city’s crackdown on business establishments started with the closure of two Rico’s Lechon restaurants and its commissary which he said had a deeper reason behind it.
“If you look at the trend, nagsugod ni sa mga pangaway niya. Naay lawm kaayo nga rason. Karon, iyang ipagawas nga murag pang-justify lang ni sa iyang gibuhat (It started when he had a rift with a business. There was a deeper reason. Now, he is making it look like he is going after the others just to justify what he did),” Rama said.
The owners of Rico’s Lechon earlier said they suspect personal vendetta behind the mayor’s closure of their business after they decided to cut ties with the mayor’s daughter-in-law, Bea Villegas-Osmeña, who had been one of their shareholders for their branch in Barangay Mabolo for the past five years.
Councilor Daluz also added that there are really doubts on the sincerity of the mayor in going after other erring establishments.
“As long as the crackdown is sincere. But there is a doubt as to the sincerity of the action of the mayor. Seeing the action itself, it’s good because it’s a crackdown on the violators. But there are some doubts,” he said.
He added that the city could also be partly blamed on the failure of some businesses to pay taxes or renew permits due to long bureaucratic processes in getting these done.
This is why he said the city should give ample due process to erring businesses.
Daluz added that there are other options that the city could take aside from immediately closing businesses like imposing penalties, filing a case or levying properties.
For his part, Councilor Philip Zafra said the mayor should also consider how businesses help the city and its constituents by providing employment.
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