Commissioner Dulay resumes tax campaign sorties, leads launching of BIR Cebu 2017 tax campaign

CEBU CITY-� Commissioner of Internal Revenue Caesar R. Dulay resumed his regional sorties after over a week of hiatus due to very pressing commitments [e.g. Senate hearing on the bid of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for exemption from the Salary Standardization Law (SSL), among others] with a well-received appearance at the launching of the 2017 tax campaign of BIR Revenue Region (RR) No. 13, Cebu City at the SM City Trade Hall.

Drawing sheer excitement and mob-like attention from the audience, Commissioner Dulay delivered his keynote address in rather simple and rapt yet quick manner. He generously thanked the audience for gracing the occasion. He likewise acknowledged everybody in the trade hall but reserved his best for the taxpayers.

Commissioner Dulay quoted one of the finalists in the Infomercial Contest that reminded every one of the need for taxes para tayo ay umasenso. He underscored the fact that the 80% national revenues collected by the Bureau is crucial para tumakbo ang gobyerno. He said that the P1.576 trillion collected by the BIR last 2016 was a reflection of the partnership of the BIR and the taxpayers in nation-building.

Earlier, the judging of the four (4) Infomercial Contest finalists was held with the infomercial Isa, Dalawa, Tatlo running away with the top prize beating Every Cent Counts, Paraiso ng Isang Piso, and Jeepney. Commissioner Dulay awarded the top prize of the contest which was judged by Deputy Commissioner Lanee Cui-David (Chairperson), Assistant Commissioner Ma. Rosario Charo E. Curiba (Member), and Public Information and Education Division (PIED) Chief Reymarie T. de la Cruz (Member).

Commissioner Dulay asked that the partnership is maintained as the BIR seeks to collect P1.829 trillion this 2017. The Commissioner noted that the collection for January and February 2017 grew by around 12.13% and 9.5%, respectively, compared to the tax take for the same months in 2016 and quickly attributed the same to the positive response to the call of change by the taxpayers.

The reform-oriented top honcho of the BIR mentioned the BIR's response to the same call for change as crucial to its attainment of the 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.

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.

To support the drive to meet the Bureau's collection goal, a massive recruitment program is already being implemented. And to attract more recruits to work with the tax agency by making starting salaries for entry positions more competitive with those being offered by other government agencies like the Insurance Commission, the BIR has filed a bill with Congress seeking to remove the BIR from the coverage of the SSL. Thus far, the bill has found sponsors from both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The BIR is currently running with less than one-half of its personnel strength of close to 10,000 and yet its has in the past attained a 97% achievement level of its target. Just imagine what the BIR can do in terms of collecting taxes with a full personnel complement of 21,000, Commissioner Dulay pointed out.

While the BIR is focusing its attention to better serving the taxpaying public, it will continue to enforce the law. These two must go hand-in-hand with tax administration. If not, there would be no voluntary compliance, Commissioner Dulay quipped. Among the enforcement activities being pursued, he categorically stated that the Run After Tax Evaders (RATE), and the Oplan Kandado Programs will continue. He also discussed briefly how taxpayer segmentation into large, medium, and small, as well as availment by taxpayers of the expanded compromise settlement program, can greatly help fuel and increase collection.

He again appealed to all taxpayers to continue cooperating and paying their taxes correctly and then digressed briefly by telling the taxpayers to file their Income Tax Returns early before the April 15 deadline so all their needs can be addressed. He added, We have to meet our goal to support 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 Pagbabgo Para sa Bayan.

Earlier, RR No. 13 � Cebu City Regional Director Alfredo V. Misajon traced how the introduction of change in the past several years did little to improve life. He said, Life remained the same if not regressed. It was a hit and miss proposition or a boom and bust syndrome. The change did not happen as promised. If there indeed was change, it was not felt just the same. There was apathy in the people who see the tax burden as oppressive and onerous. The payment of taxes was anathema to businesses as they resorted to tax avoidance, if not outright tax evasion.

The new Regional Director plodded and said that people do not see the nobility in paying taxes. This reality took a different complexion in the Duterte administration and has come to the BIR where dramatic changes occurred as processes were simplified and the attitude of the BIR towards taxpayers took a 360 degree turn.

This year we have adopted a different approach. We have moved from an enforcement-centric institution to a service-centric organization. We have thus streamlined our business processes and reduced documentary requirements and processing time so as not to unduly burden taxpayers, he stressed.

Director Misajon went on to disclose his region's accomplishments and plans for 2017.

RR No. 13 � Cebu City has consistently achieved a double-digit growth rate for the past five (5) years � 20.37% in 2012, 15.55% in 2013, 22.19% in 2014, and 22.72% in 2015. However, in 2016 it posted a 2.98% growth rate that could have gone up to 17 or 18 percent had the one-time SRP Project collection of P3.1 billion in 2015 been duplicated in 2016 or taken out in the computation of the growth rate.

Among the programs and initiatives 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.

Public Information and Education Chief Reymarie T. de la Cruz told the audience that one additional thing that could be made certain aside from death and taxes is the habit of paying taxes correctly and seeing to it that these funds are spent properly. He said that the consistent and constant practice of paying taxes correctly can make the habit permanent.

He then drew the audience's attention to the change initiatives that the Bureau undertook the past year to improve taxpayer service and to make life easier for taxpayers. He proceeded to make a quick rundown of the various tax campaign themes of the BIR and the shift of thrust from payment of correct taxes to nation-building and to service excellence.

Chief de la Cruz bared the 2017 Public Awareness Campaign of the tax agency in line with the theme Tunay na Pagbabago, Para sa Bayan and the current thrust of the administration to streamline frontline services through an audio-visual presentation.

Assistant Regional Director Aynie E. Mandajoyan-Dizon welcomed the gathering of taxpayers, tax practitioners, officials and representatives of audit firms, chambers of commerce and industries, professional and academic organizations, Directors and representatives of national government agencies, students, BIR National, Regional, and Revenue District officials and other stakeholders. Among the prominent personalities present were Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino of the Office of the President, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Melanie C. Ng, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Glenn Anthony Soco, and Region VII Regional Development Council Chairperson Kenneth Cobonpue.

Assistant Director Mandajoyan-Dizon reminded the taxpayers that the kickoff program signals the start of the tax filing season. She said that the BIR and the taxpayers, as partners in nation-building, have come together to support collection efforts and renew commitment to a better Philippines.

The Pledge of Commitment for BIR personnel was led by Commissioner Dulay. On the other hand, Presidential Adviser Dino and CCCI President Melanie Ng led the recital of the pledge for taxpayers. A Ceremonial Toast followed with best wishes for the success of the collection efforts for 2017 of RR No. 13 � Cebu City.

RR No. 13 � Cebu City is composed of five (5) Revenue District Offices (RDOs) covering the provinces of Cebu and Bohol, viz: RDO No. 80 � Mandaue City (Revenue District Officer Josephine Lourdes C. Tang); RDO No. 81 � Cebu City North (Revenue District Officer Emir U. Abutazil); RDO No. 82 � Cebu City South (Revenue District Officer Evangeline S. Abanilla); RDO No. 83 � Talisay City (Revenue District Officer Debbie Angeles V. Garcia), and RDO No. 84 � Tagbilaran City (Revenue District Officer Tohammie L. Yahya).

Proudly-Cebu local talents � Dancesport Team Cebu City, acoustic pop balladeer and Youtube sensation TJ Monterde, and singer & 2012 Karaoke World Championship (KWC) - Finland Semi-finalist and KWC Philippine Male 1st runner-up JV Decena � provided crowd-pleasing performances amid the shrieks and smiles of the audience.

Rainier Joseph Viacrusis and Priscilla L. Ho served as VOs in the entire kickoff program.

Source: Philippines Information Agency

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