Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to launch a massive crackdown on mulcting officials and personnel victimizing not just large corporations but even small businesses.
“Marami sa ating mga maliliit na negosyante ay kinikikilan ng ilang hindi matitinong kawani ng gobyerno. Hindi ko nilalahat pero alam naman natin na meron tayong mga BIR officials na nangha-harass o tinataas ‘yung tax assessment para makahingi sila ng pera kapag nakiusap na babaan ang tax assessment. Ito muna ang unahin natin, yung sugpuin iyong ganitong korapsyon,” Gatchalian said.
The senator also called for a clampdown against erring officials and employees of revenue collection agencies stating his stand that instead of introducing new taxes to fund services and address the country’s P12.763 trillion debt as of April, it’s more efficient to improve tax collection and fight corruption in the government.
Gatchalian took note of a recent series of reports on alleged extortion cases involving BIR personnel in Ilocos Sur, Dipolog City and Zamboanga City as well as the purported “pabaon” scheme of some outgoing officials of the agency.
“Bago natin pag-usapan na taasan ang buwis o taasan ang mga singilin, dapat sugpuin muna natin ang korapsyon dahil ang makikinabang lang dyan ay ‘yung mga corrupt officials na tinataas naman ang mga pekeng assessments nila,” the senator said.
“Dapat tuloy-tuloy lang ang laban natin sa korapsyon hanggang sa maayos ang sistema,” he added.
A drastic approach is needed to carry out an internal cleansing of the bureaucracy to rid government agencies of rotten eggs, Gatchalian further pointed out.
A similar campaign had already been carried out by the BIR at the onset of the Duterte administration which saw the resignation and early retirement of hundreds of BIR employees. The deluge of resignations was in response to the call against those involved in corruption charges.
“If there’s political will, we can improve tax collection, build taxpayers’ trust in government and ensure increased revenue. People are willing to pay when they know that their taxes are well spent on services due them,” said Gatchalian, who is said to be the incoming Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.