The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) plays a central role in realizing the Philippine “economic breakout,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said.
Dominguez underscored the importance of tax administration and policy reforms in ensuring a steady revenue stream for the Duterte administration’s ambitious program to modernize the country’s infrastructure backbone and accelerate poverty reduction.
In a statement on Wednesday, Dominguez said the BIR is virtually “girding up for battle” in taking on this “daunting and heroic” role, which is why its revenue targets have been raised and primed to collect trillions of pesos in revenue to help fund programs under the Duterte presidency that aim to sustain high growth and liberate millions of Filipinos from poverty.
“The task placed upon our shoulders is a daunting one. It is also a heroic task. It enables us to play the lead role in the economic emancipation of millions of Filipinos,” Dominguez said.
Under the Duterte administration’s “economic breakout” strategy, the Department of Finance and its attached revenue-generating agencies make up “the advance guard leading the charge to transform our country and liberate our people” from poverty.
“The entire economic strategy relies on the BIR being able to do so. So prepare for a campaign like no other attempted before,” he said.
Dominguez said BIR employees should keep “honesty, courtesy and service in mind” when undertaking their respective tasks, and reminded them that being incapable of change has consequences.
“The BIR, as you see, plays a central role in realizing the audacious economic program our government has embarked on. This is the reason targets have been raised and our organization is geared up to collect trillions,” he said.
Dominguez said the BIR’s P1.83 trillion collection goal for 2017 might seem quite steep, but even when the target is attained, it will still be moderate compared with what other Southeast Asian economies generate in terms of revenue.
“The fact is our revenue effort has not been impressive for so many years. This is not entirely the Bureau’s fault. In as far as assuring robust revenue flows and a high tax effort, we need to dramatically reform both our tax administration and our tax policies. We need to evolve a tax collection system that is simpler, fairer and more efficient. We are trying to accomplish precisely that,” Dominguez said.
To make the tax system simpler, fairer and more efficient, Malacañang has been pushing the swift approval of the first package of the Duterte administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program in the Congress, he added.