Hontiveros bares link of tax-evading COVID-19 response supplier to PRRD

Hontiveros bares link of tax-evading COVID-19 response supplier to PRRD

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday bared the connection of
Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG), one of the suppliers for
the country’s COVID-19 response, to President Duterte.

She said that the XCMG failed to pay income taxes in the Philippines
despite being awarded a contract worth P1.67 billion for medical
supplies.

During the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing, Hontiveros presented
photos of XCMG chairman Wang Min and President Duterte, who were
together in Malacanang in February 2017.

The images were found on a Chinese language website that published
their meeting.

“‘Yung mainit na tinanggap noong 2017 sa Malacanang, tax evader pala
ngayon. Bakit ba ang mga kumpanyang nagresponde sa pandemya sa
Pilipinas, puro nanlalabag ng batas? Hindi tuloy malayong maisip na
kaya ang daming kaso ng COVID-19 sa atin dahil sa mga kaduda-dudang
medical suppliers,” Hontiveros said.

According to the Chinese website, Wang Min, along with the XCMG
delegation had a “successful visit” in the Philippines, and that on
the afternoon of February 27, President Duterte “cordially received”
Wang Min.

Senator Frank Drilon had revealed that XCMG is not registered in the
Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the Bureau of Customs
(BOC). In the previous Blue Ribbon committee hearing, Robin Han,
XCMG’s representative in the Philippines also said that the company
only secured clearance from PS-DBM, which then handled its clearance
with the BOC.

“Paulit-ulit natin sinasabi sa hearing na hindi porke’t may emergency
ay wala nang susunurin na proseso. Hindi rin dapat na nabibigyan lang
ng kontrata ang mga kumpanyang malakas sa Presidente. Dahil close sa
opisyal ng gobyerno, sila na ang papaboran? Hindi pwede yun. Contracts
should be given based on merit and capacity,” Hontiveros said.

“Balik na naman tayo sa tanong kung bakit hindi nagsagawa ng due
diligence. Sa Pharmally, may mga executives na pugante pala, pero
binigyan parin ng bilyon-bilyong kontrata. Itong XCMG, tax evader
pala, binigyan din ng kontrata. It does make us wonder whether, on the
part of PS-DBM, this is pure negligence or deliberate obstruction.
Kapabayaan lang nga ba o talagang may planong pangungupit?” Hontiveros
concluded. (ai/mtvn)

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