By Nora Soriño
Iligan City Bureau Chief
Iligan City – They got it all wrong.
This was the message of SimplicioVillarta, Jr former president of the National Steel Labor Union and now member of the liquidation team of the National Steel Corporation headed by Atty. Danilo Concepcion, yesterday.
The “wrong” Villarta was referring to is the real property tax liability of the shuttered National Steel Corporation which the National Steel Corporation Working Group claimed to be over 4 billion, and adding that the move of levying the plant is also wrong too and not in accordance with the law.
Villarta said such assessment of P4 billion included the real property taxes on several equipment of the plant which had lain idle for years. Under the law, he said, idle equipment are not subject to real property tax.
He cited that in 2004, NSC applied for tax amnesty and the city had approved it. So up to 2004, NSC had no more tax liabilities.
In 2004, the plant was operated by an Indian Company, Global Steel and a few years after, suffered the same faith and closed down in 2010 as the company could not cope with the financial demands of running a steel plant.
Ownership then went to a consortium of banks led by the Philippine National Bank (PNB) and then it was placed in a receivership.
Villarta said, as a lawyer he is aware that companies placed under receivership cannot be levied. Thus, the move of the NSCWG is wrong, adding that they had brought the matter to court and the appellate court decided in their favor, and for their part the city had gone to the Supreme Court and lose the case there.
Definitely, there are “legal infirmities” in the city’s move to levy the plant, this is a “deception,” Villarta added.
It was learned that the budget for the said undertaking of the city government to revive the NSC is P10 million. Villarta said that such move by the city is “just to get the P10 million.”