ORTIGOZA: How thieves in the government divide loot
Until now the P50 thousand a month that President Rodrigo Duterte promised to give to the lowly Police 0fficer – 1 or foot patrol policeman and those cops with higher ranks remained to be seen.
The President declared recently in an event at a military camp in Central Luzon that he and his economic managers are looking for a source where to get the funds for the police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The other day, I interviewed in our radio program Regional Director Marina de Guzman of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in Region 1.
I asked her in the vernacular the plight of those cops and the military.
“If the Duterte Administration plans to reduce the income tax of taxpayers from 32 percent to 25 percent that would be a loss of almost P10 billion revenue collection for the government. The active policemen and police retirees need P50 billion and P20 billion, respectively, a year for the promised pay hike. That’s P70 billion budget that we need to source out, and another, say, P150 billion for the AFP that we need to look where to get, how can this salary spike happen when income tax is being reduced?” I posed.
The BIR Director said that the government’s plan to hike the Value Added Tax from 12 percent to 14 percent and spike the Sin taxes on beverages and cigarettes.
She said BIR Commissioner Cesar Dulay suspended through Revenue Memorandum Circular the issuance of Letter of Authority (LOA) and tax mapping.
The suspension of LOA, according to the Director, affects those issued since year 2013 to present.
De Guzman explained that the Duterte Administration wants to see the absence of BIR personnel directly transacting with the taxpayers through LOA and Mapping.
It was seen that contact between the BIR officials and taxpayers through these two modes result in conspiracy where both collude on the amount of tax they want to pay the government at the expense of the people of the Philippines.
“It takes two to tango,” she answered when I asked the Director’s take about President Duterte’s charge that BIR is one of the most corrupt agencies in the Philippines.
Two to tango, to those tricycle drivers and funeral parlor attendants who read this article, means corruption ensued because the taxpayer seduced the BIR Examiner to pay a, say P500 thousand tax from a P2 million assessment in the LOA where the Examiner and his superiors pocket the other P500 thousand.
A big time private contractor with the government told me how he and public officials earn in a, say, ten million pesos farm-to-market road in a town.
“15 percent lang ang tubo ko diyan. 15 percent bigay ko sa congressman, 5 percent sa DPWH (Department of Public Works & Highway) for the boys nila to divide, and 10 percent kay mayor,” he enumerated.
He cited that before he wins the bidding for the project at the DPWH, he first get the nod of the other two bidders (required by law) who would quote the first two highest bid to make the project so they would lose while my source, who bids the lowest ten million project wins.
“I will give them P300 thousand to divide among them or to those other bidders who are interested in the project.”
When I asked him how much he shells out to the village chief that hosts the farm-to-market road, he told me he gives the “kapitan” P5000 as token of appreciation in signing the document to attest the program of works in his barangay had already been done by his construction firm.
“Pag maganda ang mood ko at humirit ang kapitan na bigyan din iyong mga kagawad (members of the village’s legislative council), binibigyan ko sila ng P10 thousand”.
To quantify how government funds are pocketed, the narrations say: More than 45 percent goes to those people I mentioned, while the Republic of the Philippines settle for the more than 50 percent or more than P5 million of the P10 million farm-to-market road from the taxpayers’ monies.
This scenario of how the public monies, be it P10 million or 100 million are divided is endemic all over the Philippines.
Many of these government officials would justify that they did not pocket the monies of the government since the contractor gives his personal fund to them.
Even that justification was partially true, it is still grossly disadvantageous to the Republic since the people settle for a substandard infrastructure.
Son of a gun, where do you think the contractor would recoup those almost 50 percent he feeds to those vultures so he wins the bid at the DPWH until the time he chalked up the signature of a corrupt village chief in the document attesting that the public work had been excellently done?
(You can read my selected columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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