Cebu City mayor to BDO: You can't fool us

MANILA, Philippines – Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has accused a BDO Unibank Incorporated branch of not paying the correct business taxes to the city government.

In a statement he posted on his official Facebook page, entitled, "Cebu City to Close BDO," Osmeña said the BDO branch in Magallanes Street pays only P6 a day in business taxes. The signed statement, posted on Friday, February 10, is written on the city government's official stationery.

Osmeña noted that the branch is located "in the heart of Chinatown where traders are most active."

"Imagine, the most profitable bank in the country is pretending to be poor. A janitor in city hall pays about P5,000 a year in taxes, this BDO branch pays city hall P2,000 a year.  One guesses: Who is richer? The city hall janitor or BDO? Isip (Think)…isip," he said.

According to Osmeña, the BDO branch's business taxes are not enough to give financial assistance to a city scholar or a senior citizen. The city currently supports 80,000 scholars and senior citizens.

"I will not let BDO fool this city. Not under my watch," the mayor said. "My message to BDO is, 'Alis d'yan (Beat it),'" he added.

Osmeña said that if the bank leaves Cebu City, the city government "will actually save money."

"Don't think we will miss you," he said.

Osmeña made the Facebook post after BDO issued a statement that "the city government refused to accept payments for local taxes and fees, and issue the permits, contrary to what they did in the past."

On February 4, Sun.Star Cebu reported that the city government might close 26 BDO branches after finding out these were allegedly operating without business permits.

According to the report, Osmeña filed a case against the BDO branch in Magallanes Street for not correctly declaring its gross annual income.

On February 6, BDO said that it had submitted permit requirements to the city government to prevent the closure of its branches in Cebu City.

The management also said it had made the necessary arrangements for its clients in Cebu to be serviced in alternative locations.

BDO has one of the largest distribution networks among local banks, with more than 1,000 operating branches and over 3,000 ATMs nationwide.

It is the country's largest bank in terms of total assets, loans, deposits and trust funds under management based on published statements of condition as of June 30, 2016. – Aika Rey/