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Bayan Muna slams DOE, OSG over P146.8-B Malampaya underpayments

/ 11:13 AM May 17, 2018

Malampaya gas field

Party-list group Bayan Muna has slammed the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), after both agencies sought to allow the Malampaya gas consortium to keep about P146.8 billion in underpayments that were not collected by the government.

“Ang laking iskandalo nito na malaki pa sa pork barrel at di dapat itong palagpasin.  Bilyon-bilyong buwis na hindi binabayaran at hindi din kinokolekta ng pamahalaan mula sa mga dambuhalang korporasyong tulad ng Shell at Chevron,” Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate said in a message on Thursday.

“Ang masaklap pa dito ay kinampihan pa ng Department of Energy at Solicitor General ang Shell at Chevron sa di pagbabayad na ito sa gobyerno,” Zarate added.

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On Wednesday, the Commission on Audit (COA) rejected the plea of the DOE and OSG to let the Malampaya gas consortium keep the underpayments. The COA reiterated its audit report saying that the process is ‘illegal’.

COA added that the government ‘should have not shouldered’ the consortium’s income tax liabilities in computing its share of net revenues derived from the offshore natural gas field.

In its appeal, the DOE and OSG reasoned out that high taxes will discourage investors from entering into contracts with the government.

READ: COA rebuffs DOE, SolGen plea to let Malampaya gas firms keep P146.8-B underpayments

Zarate praised COA for “standing on its position as guardian of public funds”.  The lawmaker also requested the House of Representatives to prioritize House Bill No. 3877, which will amend Presidential Decree No. 910.

“It is in this light that we are calling on the House leadership for the fast tracking of Bayan Muna’s House Bill  3877 so that Congress would have stringent oversight powers on the Malampaya funds and  prevent this type of anomaly,” Zarate said.

If passed, HB 3877 or an “Act Amending Presidential Decree 910, Creating an Energy Development Board and Mandating the Transfer of the Malampaya Funds to the General Fund” will provide Congress the ability to monitor the use of funds from the Malampaya project.

“It is in this light that we are calling on the House leadership for the fast tracking of Bayan Muna’s House Bill 3877 so that Congress would have stringent oversight powers on the Malampaya funds and prevent this type of anomaly,” Zarate said.

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“We filed [HB 3877] so that we can truly monitor and guard how the fund is being used and appreciate its true value in our national development,” he added. /muf

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TAGS: Bayan Muna, Department of Energy, DoE, House of Representatives, Malampaya gas consortiums, Office of the Solicitor General, OSG, Representative Carlos Zarate
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