Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Subic town’s edict on P300 fee for workers called invalid

An ordinance by the Subic, Zambales government requiring non-residents to get working permits and pay P300 yearly has drawn opposition from workers, the Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Phil. Inc., and the Zambales government’s Task Force Hanjin.

Subic Mayor Jeffrey Khonghun, however, defended Revenue Ordinance No. 2008-01.

It was enacted to ensure “peace and order” in the town on the heels of the heavy influx of workers from other areas, Khonghun said in a telephone interview on Friday.

He said the increase in the town’s population has also put a strain on local funds for social services.

The mayor could not exactly tell the current population of workers. This, he said, was the reason commercial and industrial businesses have been asked to submit lists of their employment pool.

Objection disregarded

Hanjin, the biggest investor at the Subic Bay Freeport and which is completing its $1.6-billion shipyard at the Redondo Bay, has opposed the ordinance.

“It should not apply to our workers because we are a locator at the freeport, not in Subic town,” said Shim Jong Sup, president of HHIC, when reached by phone also on Friday.

Shim said the ordinance was not encouraged by Hanjin.

He gave the Inquirer a copy of an April 18 memorandum by In Yong Yong, HHIC-PI managing director, to Hanjin workers, who now count over 8,000.

“Although the company expressed its objection to the ordinance, it appears that such objection has been disregarded,” In said.

“If you have any questions about the ordinance, please raise them directly [to] the office of the municipal mayor,” he said.

In’s memorandum cited portions of the ordinance that said the permit should be obtained annually and paid “on or before Jan. 20.”

Incompatible

In also said Khonghun expected the workers to comply “until April 30, 2008.”

On Friday, at least 50 Hanjin workers sent text messages to the Inquirer opposing the P300 tax they are being required to pay for every working permit.

They said they have not secured the permit or paid until the issue is settled.

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza noted the “incompatibility” of the ordinance with SBMA’s authority to issue permits and set policies.

But the matter, Arreza said, was “being resolved with the mayor (Khonghun).”

Ramon Lacbain II, co-chair of the Task Force Hanjin, said the ordinance was “not valid.”

The Subic town council passed the ordinance on April 2. Khonghun approved it April 14.

Eva Bertes, the council secretary, did not reply to an Inquirer query if the ordinance underwent public hearings or if it was published in newspapers. By Tonette Orejas - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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5 Comments:

  • Task Force Hanjin has no power nor authority to review any ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Bayan of Subic. The "review" authority is vested by law with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Zambales. Lacbain is no longer a member of the said Provincial Board and therefore has no right to declare the above-mentioned ordinance as "invalid".
    He is again "politicking" and is opposing the progress and development of his hometown.
    Shame on him!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/03/2008 11:49 AM  

  • I dont want to delv on the politics of the area, but gardemit, what the hell was jeff thinking!!! does he not realize that hanjin is under the SBMA thus hesimply cant impose fees on this locator including its workers. this can be a dangerous preceedence where other LGUs will also try their regulatory power on an area w/c by law has its own powers

    By Anonymous derek, at 5/03/2008 9:22 PM  

  • To Mr. Derek :

    Please watch your language, sir.

    You're right, Hanjin operates under the authority of SBMA but I tell you, Hanjin, is located on the political territory of Subic, Zambales.

    Besides, the local government of Subic has the power to regulate employment and impose tax or fees on people who live and enjoy the benefits of the social services being extended to them by the local government.

    The ordinance was not a tax imposition on Hanjin doing business as locator but on workers who work there and who previously are not residents of Subic town.

    Dangerous precedence? Not at all, as actually many LGUs are already imposing the same to their constituents, like Gapo City.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/04/2008 1:08 PM  

  • This just shows how ignorant is the mayor of Subic as well as its Sangguniang Bayan members... my God is there any one else in the municipal hall of Subic to teach this politicians what is right and what is not beyond their jurisdiction? Shame on all the voters who vote for this stupid guys.. nakakahiya!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/05/2008 8:37 PM  

  • Somebody should bring this issue to court if Subic Officials wont back up on this issue, at least to save face, they can keep the ordinance but not to force hanjin and its workers to pay the P300 since they are not under the regulatory power of Mayor Khunhon

    By Anonymous Nathan, at 5/09/2008 4:00 PM  

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