Duterte to Lucio Tan: Pay PAL arrears or I’ll shut down Naia Terminal 2
President Rodrigo Duterte has warned business tycoon Lucio Tan, chairman and chief executive officer of Philippine Airlines (PAL), to settle his liabilities with the government in 10 days or he would shut down Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
PAL, the country’s flag carrier, has been exclusively using Naia Terminal 2 since 1999.
In a speech at the Philippine Constitution Association on Tuesday night, Duterte recalled how he rejected businessmen to fund his campaign, including Tan.
“Mga abogado man tayo lahat dito. You tell your clients: ‘Pay the tax correctly’,” he said.
“Yung isa dito, ano, sabi niya… I did not accept,” he added. “I did not accept his money. He is a contributor. At sabihin ko na. Lucio Tan. Donor of funds. Sabi ko: ‘No’.”
The President said he thanked Tan but refused his offer to be his campaign contributor. He told the tycoon to settle his tax liabilities first.
“Sabi ko: ‘Thank you, but…’ And other guys there,” he said. “Sabi ko: ‘You are using government buildings, airport, you have a back… back… utang diyan sa runway. Di mo binabayaran’. Sabi ko: ‘You solve the problem yourself. I will give you 10 days. Bayaran mo. Pag hindi mo bayaran, eh di sarhan ko.’ Wala nang airport. So what?”
The President did not give details on Tan’s liabilities, but he said: “We have to enforce the law.”
“Kayo Pilipino have to travel overland from Luzon to Davao,” Duterte went on. “Basta bayaran mo, huwag mo akong bigyan ng shit nang ganun. I do not mind. If we sink, we sink. But I said: ‘We have to enforce the law.’ So guys, you guys, if you are put into a great discomfort, sorry. Wala akong magawa. The law is the law. It is the law.”
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Department of Transportation (DoTR), said PAL has “unpaid navigational fees and other charges” amounting to almost P7 billion to the government – P6.97 billion payable to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and P322.11 million payable to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).
“Upon instruction of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, letters have been sent to PAL as early as August 2016 demanding full payment of all unpaid charges,” the statement read.
“As a result, discussions were undertaken with PAL to reconcile invoices and documents, which led to PAL’s payment to CAAP of PHP370 million,” it added.
DoTR said PAL “also requested to discuss the possibility of paying its arrears in 7 years.”
“All such requests have been denied,” it said. “Thus, FINAL DEMAND for FULL payment of ALL unpaid charges has been sent to PAL, preparatory to the filing of appropriate legal action in order to protect the interest of government.”
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