Even in the land of the “Punisher,” Commissioner of Internal Revenue Caesar R. Dulay had to plead to the President’s supporters to rally behind the 2017 campaign of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to collect P1.829 trillion in taxes to fund the various programs of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte which are intended to improve the lot of Filipinos, especially the less fortunate.
The appeal was made during the 2017 Tax Campaign kickoff of BIR Revenue Region (RR) No. 19, Davao City at the Davao Convention Center.
Citing the President’s election campaign banner of “Tunay na Malasakit” and the BIR’s 2017 tax campaign theme of “Tunay na Pagbabago Para sa Bayan,” he said: “To realize true change, I humbly appeal to all you to cooperate and pay your taxes correctly to support the goals of this administration in the same way that you have supported and continue to support President Duterte as validated by his most recent high satisfaction rating. We seek the same show of support to the BIR from you.”
Drawing overflowing reception from the people of the place where he extensively practiced law, Commissioner Dulay delivered his keynote message in rather plain and simple yet effective manner.
As he is wont to do, he started by generously thanking the audience for responding to the invitation of the Bureau. He again underscored the most important presence of the taxpayers of the region.
Without fanfare, Commissioner Dulay pointed to the enormous task of the BIR to collect P1.829 trillion this 2017.
He said that about 80% of government tax revenues that support and fund the government’s expenses and delivery of public goods and services come from the BIR. Last year, the BIR collected P1.576 trillion.
He once again pointed out to the taxpayers of Mindanao, the people closest to the heart of the President, that of the assigned 2017 BIR collection goal, around P19 billion in revenue collection is expected to come from RR No. 19, Davao City and around P70 billion to P80 billion from the entire Mindanao.
He asked the taxpayers to support this tax drive to start by paying their income taxes this coming April 15, 2017, deadline for the filing of 2016 Income Tax Returns.
The President’s personal pick to head the BIR underscored the BIR’s response to the same call for change as crucial to the tax agency’s attainment of its assigned collection target. One is to promote ease of doing business by streamlining business and registration processes that will make compliance with tax obligations by the taxpayers easier.
Commissioner Dulay cited one instance where he had to ask one Revenue District Officer to immediately release the Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR) covering the settlement of the required estate tax after he received a complaint that the said CAR was being withheld by the concerned examiner who asked for the presentation of the official receipt for the payment of the notarial fee in the execution of the deed of extra-judicial settlement.
The said receipt is not one of those required to be submitted for purposes of processing the settlement of the estate of a decedent.
To effect more changes in the BIR, the Commissioner said he welcomes proposals to amend existing revenue regulations that affect taxpayers, chambers of commerce and industry, and tax practitioners.
This is line with his open door policy to promote transparency, and to make his office be of service to taxpayers.
He urged all taxpayers to air their grievances using all available means, especially through the President’s 8888 Citizens’ Complaints Center. He asked the revenuers not to fear the complaints as they are meant to call the BIR’s attention to improve the delivery of frontlines services as long as they have done nothing contrary to law.
He echoed the earlier announcement by the region’s director to implement various priority programs to achieve the BIR’s goals as enunciated in the tax agency’s Strategic Roadmap and Collection Framework.
He again appealed to all taxpayers, “We have to meet our goal to support the operations of the government and even go higher so we can have more funds to share to our less fortunate countrymen. This way, we help and support the administration of President Duterte in his quest for ‘Tunay na Pagbabago Para sa Bayan.’ ”
Earlier, RR No. 19 – Davao City Regional Director Nuzar N. Balatero welcomed the participants that crowded the famed convention center in Mindanao. Mostly were taxpayers of the revenue region, members of different chambers of commerce and industries, professional organizations, academe, national government agencies, local government units, media, bookkeepers and tax practitioners.
Regional Director Balatero went on to disclose his region’s accomplishments and plans for the taxable year 2017.
RR No. 19 – Davao City collected P16.94 billion in 2016 as compared to its tax take in 2015 of P14.34 billion, for an increase of P2.60 billion or a growth rate of 18.15%. Of the P1.829 trillion goal of the entire BIR, about P19 billion was assigned to the region for 2017.
The unassuming regional director expressed confidence in meeting his region’s goal citing the various economic programs and activities of the region and the fact that Davao is a MICE (Meetings, Investments, Conferences, and Exhibitions) destination. He said that more economic activities being pursued by the government mean greater tax potential that can translate to greater opportunities. “We are ready to accept the challenges before us,” he quipped.
He then proceeded to discuss the BIR’s Strategic Roadmap and Collection Framework, both of which are intended to set the path to be taken by the Bureau in its drive to attain its goal. Among the programs and initiatives discussed to be undertaken by the revenue region this 2017 are the RATE Program, Oplan Kandado Program, Profiling and Benchmarking, Updating of Zonal Values, Risk-Based Audit, Broadening the tax base, and Expansion of the Compromise Settlement Program.
RR No. 19 – Davao City is composed of five (5) provinces (Compostela Valley, Davao Del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao Del Sur, and Davao Occidental), six (6) cities, forty-three (43) municipalities, and one thousand one hundred sixty-two (1,162) barangays. In the political subdivision, the region belongs to Region XI. It has jurisdiction over five (5) Revenue District Offices (RDO), namely: RDO No. 112 – Tagum City (covers Compostela Valley, Davao Del Norte, and 3 cities); RDO No. 113A – West Davao City; RDO 113B – East Davao City; RDO 114 – Mati (covers Davao Oriental); and RDO 115 – Digos City (covers Davao Del Sur and Davao Occidental). The said RDOs are headed by Revenue District Officers Saripoden M. Bantog, Mary Ann B. Cervantes, Rodrigo L. Rivamonte, Daisy G. Franco, and Monib M. Dimakuta.
Speaking through her representative Gerardo Arangoso, Davao City Mayor Sara Z. Duterte for her part said that the kickoff program serves to commence this year’s tax drive and to present last year’s accomplishments. She further said that for the BIR to succeed, it needs the support from the citizens who pay their taxes. Taxpayers in return receive from government delivery of public goods and services. She called on everyone to comply with their tax obligations by paying their taxes (especially) this coming April 15, 2017.
Client Support Service Head Revenue Executive Assistant Beverly S. Milo explained the 2017 Tax Campaign Theme and Logo Rationale through an audio-visual presentation. She said that the BIR conducts information dissemination yearly to remind taxpayers of their obligation to RFP (Register, File, and Pay). She likewise outlined the thematic background of tax campaigns from 2014 to the present.
Department of Finance Undersecretary (USEC) for Revenue Operations Antonette C. Tionko, who is from Davao City herself, stressed that the government relies on the taxpayers’ support to achieve its goals, one of which is to reduce the poverty level from 21% to 14% at the end of President Duterte’s term.
She reiterated the government’s commitment to improve its delivery of services and to make life easier for taxpayers in complying with government requirements.
She cited as an example the BIR’s decision to do away with the required compilation certification in the filing of income tax returns since the same requirement that was imposed by the previous administration is inconsistent with the present administration’s thrust to simplify compliance.
USEC Tionko concluded her message by urging all taxpayers to comply by filing their tax returns and paying the taxes due thereon.
Capt. Ronald C. Go, President of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., delivered the message of support for the taxpayers.
He looked at the election of President Duterte as the time to change and that there is a need for all to support the call for change. He vowed support for the BIR saying that the payment of taxes is for the country – a better society and a better Philippines.
A general recital of the Pledge of Commitment followed with the very important personalities, including revenue officials, affixing their signatures on the pledge panel.
Assistant Regional Director Abilia S. Bentulan delivered the closing remarks even as she thanked the very important personalities, including the taxpayers, who graced the occasion.
Among those who graced the kickoff program were Deputy Commissioner Lanee Cui-David, Assistant Commissioner Ma. Rosario Charo E. Curiba, RR No. 16 – Cagayan de Oro City Regional Director Hermeno A. Palamine, Revenue Data Center – Mindanao Head Agnes Zafe, Large Taxpayers Division – Davao Chief Avia B. Globasa, who introduced Commissioner Dulay, and Public information and Education Division Chief Reymarie T. de la Cruz, who coordinated Commissioner Dulay’s media activities. (PIA/BIR)