Malls’ owners hope for lifting of closure order-A A +A
By Bong Garcia
Saturday, September 10, 2011
THE management of the Shoppers' chain of stores, which were recently padlocked by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), expressed high hopes that the BIR will allow them to resume operations.
This, after the BIR through its regional has accepted the partial payment of P5 million, which was paid last Thursday, coupled with the appeal for reconsideration and recomputation of taxes due.
BIR Regional Director Rozil Lozares led last Wednesday the Operation Plan Kandado (Oplan Kandado) team in serving the closure order to the management of the Shoppers' Central, Shoppers' Center, Shoppers' Emporium, Shoppers' Square and Shoppers' Plaza that all belong to the Shoppers' chain of stores for non-payment of taxes to the government worth P54 million.
Lozares said the closure order was issued by BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henarez by virtue of Section 115 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997.
The closure of the five business establishments was also based on a recommendatory report of the investigating office as reviewed by the National Review Board, Lozares said.
Lozares said management of the Shoppers' chain of stores was required to pay the government at least five percent of the basic tax dues within a five-day period.
Alex Ang, one of the managers of Shoppers' chain of stores, clarified that it was not the intention of the owners not to pay taxes to the BIR.
Ang said it was the opinion of the owners that the tax assessment was rather too high and done without the proper data based on books of accounts, however, some intervening events including the passing of his mother, made the owners fail to make prompt representations with the BIR that led to the temporary closure order.
Ang said they are still awaiting further notice from the BIR in connection with the lifting of the order but stressed that the owners “will try our best to request the BIR to let us open first and make a reassessment of the taxes before deciding on the closure order.”
The lifting of the closure order will come from BIR-Manila based on the recommendations of the regional office.
On the other hand, Ang has assured that the almost 1,000 workers of the Shopper's chain of stores will be paid their full salaries during the five days when the closure order is in effect.
He said the owners acceded to Mayor Celso Lobregat’s request to pay the workers as a show of gratitude to the employees for their efficient service, patience and loyalty.
“We thank you for all those years you served us. Thank you for you have been patient with us, showed your understanding. We are very proud of you,” he said of the employees.
In a meeting Friday afternoon called by Lobregat, it was disclosed that the estimated daily payroll for the employees of the five stores is P200,000 which will translate to some P1 million for the five days (September 7 to 11) payment.
Lobregat called the meeting to address the plight of the employees of the Shoppers' chain of stores who were affected by the temporary closure order.
Aside from Alex Ang, those who attended the meeting from the management side were Agustin and Henry Ang and officials from the Department of Labor and Employees, Employees Confederation of the Philippines, Public Employment Service Office, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
“Our concern is the plight of the workers,” Lobregat explained.