Editorial: Shame yourself

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

THE medical professionals are up in arms against Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) commissioner Kim Henares and with good reason.

There are ways to make people feel the need to dutifully pay their taxes, and the leering looks of Ms Henares as well as her sassy rebuttals will never elicit any sense of nationhood and patriotism.

We’d love to see the series, however, feature an ordinary office worker carrying piggyback a BIR collector. How is that for good measure, Miss Henares? Shame is something that will never engender goodwill. More so because just about every Filipino that more than the percentages of doctors who do not declare their full income are tax collectors who live in luxury through all these years on a government employee’s salary.


But remember, on a comparative scale between a doctor who serves the medical needs of the people and a tax collector who sucks out the most he can from the people… you know where your taxmen stand.

Thus, on television news the other night, Henares sounded not just sassy, she was oozing with undeserved self-righteousness.

We still have to hear of tax collectors who have been sacked for unexplained wealth.

That is the challenge.

Bring out all your ads, if you truly feel this will work, but you should shame yourself as well, Miss Henares because we all know how shameful your bureau had always been. And eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Shame for shame.

Do not make us believe you are high and mighty and that you alone have monopoly of good governance. You don’t. You can’t even hit your targets.

Quoting the Business Anti-Corruption Portal of the Global Advice Network Integrity Solutions, “According to Social Weather Station's Survey of Enterprises on Corruption 2012, more than a quarter of the surveyed companies reported that they have been asked for a bribe during an assessment or payment of income taxes.”

The report on tax management in the Philippines further states: “According to Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer 2013, nearly one out of ten surveyed households who had contact with tax revenue services in 2012 report to have paid a bribe. According to another 2011 survey conducted by Pulse Asia, as cited in a March 2011 article by The Philippine Star, the Bureau of Internal Revenue is perceived by Filipinos as one of the most corrupt government agencies in the country.”

But didn’t you launch that anti-corruption drive in a grand way at that, Ms Henares, as early as 2011? How come the stink and distrust remain?

Prove to us your people are all trustworthy, and then we might have second thoughts about your shame campaign. But for as long as you are just as tainted as all dishonest people in the different sectors of society, then you have no right at all because you are the one in authority and should therefore be above reproach. Sorry, to say, Miss Henares, your bureau isn’t. After the grand launch of your anti-corruption drive within your agency in 2011, very little has changed. Don’t tell us you are still working on it because you should have long done and completed it before you even thought of shaming those in the private sector.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 06, 2014.


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