Friday, November 12, 2004

NR1109: Don't blame rank and file for low collections

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release November 9 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Rep. Beltran defends rank and file employees of Bureau of Customs against
accusations of low collections; slams IMF, WTO programs in the agency

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran once more takes up the cudgel for
government employees and their rights to security of tenure and benfits by
opposing House Bill No. 2996 or the Committees on Civil Service and
Professional Regulation, Oversight, Ways & Means and Appropriation's report
no. 28 authored mainly by Representatives Danilo Suarez, Imee Marcos, Mauricio
Domogan, Francis Nepomuceno, Jesli Lapus, and Rolando Andaya Jr. among others.
The bill, titled "An Act Providing for Optimum Performance in Revenue Collection
through the Grant of Special Incentives and Rewards for Exemplary Service and
through Lateral Attrition in revenue generating agencies of the government and
for other purposes," is more commonly known as the LAL, or the lateral
attrition law.

Beltran said that employees in the GFIs and the revenue-generating agencies
such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs were up in
arms against the LAL, saying that the proposed law was premised on unjust
grounds and biased against employees. "The proposal tries to pass itself off as
a system of reward and encouragement to generate increased collections, but in
truth it is nothing but a streamlining program that viciously does away with
due process and attacks employees' constitutionally-guaranteed rights to
security of tenure," he said.

"The national government is using government employees as its whipping boys and
sacrificial lambs in its desperate attempts to scrimp and save."

Beltran said that it was immoral, illegal and unjust that the government is
blaming rank and file employees from the low collection of taxes and other
revenues. He said that government employees in the affected agencies perform
their tasks to the best of their abilities, but they only act within the rules
and regulations governing their agencies. "The programs being implemented in
the agencies and the systemic corruption in the higher offices are the real
problems, not the employees," he said.

Beltran pointed out that in the BOC, for instance, there are there are programs
and policies that hinder the increase in agency collection: the 11-point reform
Program of International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the BOC geared towards
liberalization and biased for foreign investors; the faulty Philippine tax
Computerization Program (PTCP); the tariffication program imposed by the World
Trade Organization (WTO); gargantuan tax exemptions for big businesses; shift
of valuation system from fair market value to export value to transaction
value; the selectivity system (95% of the goods that enter the country are no
longer examined and automatically allowed entry; and direct/technical

"So why are the employees being blamed for low collections? It's strategically
impossible for them to be at fault for the supposed underperformance of the
BOC. The core programs and the system of checking, monitoring and
tarrification being implemented in the BOC are opposed to high revenue
collection, but biased for foreign investors and their big local business
partners," he said.

He also pointed out that the Philippine Tariff Computerization Program (PTCP)
for BIR and BOC was also implemented by the National Government. The PTCP got
$150M financial loans from the IMF-WB, but the program was a washout. The
computer hardware for the said project was provided by UNISYS, and the computer
software was provided by UNCTAD. The system uses the software ASYCUDA++
(Automated System Customs Data). Crown Agents was also hired as PTCP's project
consultant. The computers and the servers are constantly bogging down. Despite
the computerization system, the project was not successful both in increasing
revenues and ending corruption in the BIR and BOC.

Finally, Beltran scored Malacanang for its moves to reshuffle the leadership in
the BOC, justifying the reshuffle to low collections. Head collectors from
Subic, Clark, Tacloban and Batangas have been recently reshuffled.

"This is more than likely the beginning of the comprehensive reorganization in
the BOC," he pointed out. "Malacanang is already moving to put its key people in
the BOC as a prelude to the implementation of the lay-offs of the rank and
file," he said.#


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