In Cayetano-led Taguig, 11,035 businesses operating without gov’t clearances

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by Allan Yves Briones

The Commission on Audit (COA) assailed former Taguig Mayor Laarni Cayetano for her administration’s alleged failure to regulate businesses within the city, particularly over the case of 11,035 businesses which were granted permits to operate.

According to the state auditor’s report, these 11,035 businesses which were not included in the Barangay list of establishments could signify that barangay clearances were not being issued by the city government, contrary to law.

Under Section 152 (c) of the Local Government Code, owners of business establishments are required to secure a “barangay clearance” before application for business permits are processed at the city hall. These clearances are deemed “essential” in the grant of permits to operate within the city.

As a requirement to auditing taxes, state auditors requested for the “listing of business establishments” from 28 barangays in the city that secured clearances. In comparing the barangay lists and the city database, the commission found significant discrepancies: 5,146 businesses operating in 28 barangays were not listed in the city database, and 11,035 of those listed in the city database did not appear in the barangay lists.

Potentially, according to the commission, these may be indications that businesses “may have started and/or are operating in the aforementioned barangays without permits and/or without payment of city taxes.” Also, there could be instances that permits are issued by the city government without even requiring the submission of barangay clearances as required under Section 152.

“The practice deprived the city of revenue opportunities it could have generated. There could also be a probability that taxes may have been avoided by the owners or proprietors of businesses,” COA said.

The commission urged that city government’s treasurer and business licensing officer to personally inspect the aforementioned businesses to reconcile the differences in the lists. After which, they should order the payment of business taxes, fees and charges, as well as demand explanations from owners and proprietors on why they operated without the benefit of the required business permits.

To this, management “positively responded” and promised to implement the necessary steps to reconcile the data.

Former Mayor Laarni, wife of controversial House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, won a congressional seat in the 2019 midterm elections and is now the representative of the lone legislative district of Taguig.

Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano won the speakership after garnering the support of President Rodrigo Duterte who pushed for a term-sharing deal with Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.

In the chambers of the city’s highest local executive, a new Cayetano holds all the power: Mayor Lino Cayetano, the speaker’s younger brother, known for directing TV projects like Little Big Star, Tanging Yaman, Mga Anghel na Walang Langit, as well as being married to a professional volleyball player 12 years his younger. #