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Newsmakers

The lifeblood of government

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Atty. Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
The lifeblood of government
DZRH’s Deo Macalma, BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay, PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, Union Bank of the Philippines vice chairman Dr. Justo A. Ortiz.

Every lawyer worth his or her salt and every accountant, for that matter knows the lifeblood doctrine as a basic principle in taxation, which provides that “the existence of government is a necessity; that government cannot continue without means to pay its expenses; and that for these means it has a right to compel its citizens and property within its limits to contribute.”

Simply put, taxes are “the lifeblood of government and should be collected without necessary hindrance,” as the Supreme Court has, time and again, enunciated in a number of decisions. “Without taxes, the government would be paralyzed for lack of motive power to activate and operate it.”

The necessity of taxes cannot be overemphasized enough, especially during this pandemic, when government is dependent on revenue from taxes, among others, for economic recovery and for expenses in its battle against COVID-19.

MVP.

Which makes the National Tax Campaign Kick-off for this year extra-special, coming from the recession experienced last year in the throes of community and global lockdowns.

The National Tax Campaign Kick-off is a major event in the yearly calendar of activities of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that officially starts its tax campaign for the year. It is also an opportunity for the BIR to present and make known its plans and programs to further increase tax collections and enhance its services to taxpayers.

The 2021 campaign kickoff was aptly dubbed “Sama-Sama sa Hamon ng Panahon: Buwis Ko, Para sa Pilipino.”

Aside from the usual presentation of BIR accomplishments for 2020, as well as the BIR plans and programs for 2021, there was also a message from Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, delivered via Zoom, where he expressed confidence that the BIR would be able to overshoot its P2.08-trillion collection target this year as it faces the “great task” of raising as much revenues as possible to fund the comprehensive effort of defeating the COVID-19 pandemic and supporting the nation’s economic recovery.

Dominguez also mentioned that the digitalization initiatives put in place by the BIR under the leadership of the indefatigable Commissioner Caesar Dulay, along with its improved administrative systems and dedicated workforce, will enable the bureau to achieve its 2021 collection goal.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez.

“Now, more than ever, the whole nation relies on the BIR’s bold commitment to provide the revenues needed to support our people and push our country forward towards a strong economic recovery,” Dominguez said.

A panel discussion was also held with noted broadcast veteran Deo Macalma as moderator. Joining the discussion with Dominguez and Dulay were some of the country’s largest taxpayers, namely: Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala; Dr. Justo A. Ortiz; Ramon S. Ang; Enrique K. Razon Jr.; and Manuel V. Pangilinan.

The discussion revolved around these points: the biggest lessons from 2020; the bounce-back plan for 2021; support for MSMEs; the impact of the newly minted CREATE law; the expectations of taxpayers from the BIR; and the expectation of the BIR from the taxpayers.

The business tycoons all vowed to continue supporting government efforts to collect taxes, but at the same time also urged the BIR to go after those who weren’t properly paying taxes or not paying taxes at all. They also noted that there was an impending need to increase or expand the tax base.

From top left: Dominguez, Ayala Corp. chairman and CEO Jaime Zobel De Ayala, San Miguel Corp. president Ramon S. Ang, and ICTSI chairman Enrique Razon Jr.

Pangilinan mentioned that the PLDT Group would continue to support the BIR in its digitization efforts to help with its overall goal of improving its tax collection efforts.

“We continue to build our 5G network... We’re doing our best to make 5G devices more affordable. By the end of the year, it will be more affordable to a greater number of Filipinos,” Pangilinan said.

Indeed, the digitization initiatives of the BIR will go a long way towards improving its tax collection efforts towards nation building, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic when the new normal sets in.

Dulay and the BIR need our all-out and timely support.

Ortiz, MVP, Macalma, Dulay and the author.
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