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Solon urges ‘Oplan Tokhang’ vs non-performing tax collectors

  • Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 160

A HOUSE leader yesterday challenged President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to launch an “Oplan Tokhang” against tax collectors who fail to meet their target revenues by publishing their names in newspapers with national circulation.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, Party List Coalition (PLC) president, said a shame campaign should be launched against non-performing revenue collectors instead of pushing a comprehensive tax reform package that will give additional burden to the underpaid and overburdened taxpayers.
“Why don’t we adopt a shame campaign for the erring BIR personnel who are not doing their jobs? Just like the shame campaign we have on drugs, where even elected officials have been named. Let’s publish their names (underperforming tax collectors) in newspapers with national circulation,” Batocabe told reporters.
The proposed comprehensive tax reform package of the government will also tax the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) numbers’ game and lotto winnings as it pushes with the plan to impose excise taxes on petroleum products.
This was part of the tax reform program of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte that Quirino Rep. Dax Cua, House committee on ways and means chair, filed under House Bill (HB) No. 4774 which includes higher tax on automobiles that his panel started deliberating Wednesday.    
Batocabe said he fully understood the fiscal predicament of the government, but pointed out the poor should not be made to suffer for the incompetence of BIR officials who have repeatedly missed their target collections every year.
“We need revenues, but we have to study this proposal very carefully,” Batocabe stressed.
Earlier, Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez warned that the tax reform package of the economic managers will face rough sailing in Congress primarily because it is the BIR’s job to make an efficient tax collection, but that it seems its examiners have been getting richer and richer.
Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas shared a similar thought, noting that it is the height of unfairness to punish hardworking ordinary citizens to pay more despite their measly take home pay, especially since there have been no salary increases for quite sometime now.
“We have to study this tax measure very thoroughly. The masses should not be made to bear the brunt of the cost of high prices of diesel, which necessarily will have a domino effect on all basic commodities. Let’s not make them suffer even more,” Vargas emphasized.
Deputy Speaker and Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, a proponent of the measure seeking to lower the income tax at the House of Representatives, scored the proposal of the Department of Finance (DoF) to increase tax on fuel to help the government regain the revenue losses from the measure, calling it “anti-poor.”
While he totally agrees with the government’s need to shore up its tax collection, Quimbo said he does not believe that new taxes should be imposed.
“The proposed fuel tax is also anti-poor. LPG, Diesel and Kerosene are fuel products that are used mostly by the poor. Tax reform will not be successful if you merely transfer the tax injustice from the middle class to the poor. That is what the proposed fuel tax will result in. It is unacceptable,” said Quimbo.
Quimbo said the government has to do better collection by plugging the leaks in the Bureau of Customs and in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
He said that in the OC alone, the government loses P200 billion annually to smuggling and with oil smuggling alone accounting for a substantial portion of smuggled commodities.
“What use are these new taxes on oil products if the BIR and Customs continue to be a hotbed of corruption?” Quimbo said.