BIR chief vows to heed Duterte order to shuffle officers, get rid of ‘bad eggs’
MANILA, Philippines—The country’s chief tax collector on Friday (Jan. 8) said he will comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to reshuffle Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officers in a bid to stem long-standing corruption at the government’s biggest moneymaker.
In a statement, Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay admitted that there remained some bad eggs in the BIR despite some strides in the campaign to cleanse its ranks since he started leading the agency in mid-2016.
“The BIR image that we established was good but there are still bad tomatoes and it did not go unnoticed by the President,” Dulay said partly in Filipino in a statement by the BIR, quoting his message to revenue officers at an online command conference, the BIR’s first in 2021, last Tuesday (Jan. 5).
At a televised press conference last Monday (Jan. 4), Duterte ordered a reshuffle in the BIR, which the President had tagged as among the most corrupt agencies in the bureaucracy.
“With this new instruction, we will have to review. I have people in mind already that I have been contemplating. I have to comply with the request of the President to give him a list,” Dulay said.
He added that the BIR should not “bring back to the fold the few who have destroyed our name.”
But Dulay has yet to disclose who and how many officials will be reshuffled in the agency.
Dulay nonetheless congratulated BIR officials and employees after the agency exceeded its P1.69-trillion collection goal for 2020, as initial reports showed the tax take hitting P1.89 trillion.
Collections in 2020, however, fell from a record-high P2.18 trillion in 2019 amid a pandemic-induced recession.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III earlier said the reshuffle order will also help the BIR achieve its P2.08-trillion target for 2021.
Dulay noted that part of proceeds of the BIR’s tax-collection will be used by the government to buy coronavirus vaccines.