Arroyo proposes new agency to replace, overhaul BIR

MANILA, Philippines – Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo filed a bill seeking to overhaul the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for "more efficient" tax collection.

The former president turned lawmaker filed House Bill No. 695, which proposes the creation of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) to "professionalize" the BIR, among the widely perceived corrupt agencies in government, and to improve the tax collection to reduce the country's deficit.

"There is an urgent need for Congress to create a Revenue Authority to address the growing taxpayer dissatisfaction particularly over front-line services, high level of tax evasion/avoidance, and increasing perception of systematic corruption in the Bureau," Arroyo said in a press release Sunday, January 15.

Arroyo said the BIR has institutional problems that hinder it from doing its job more effectively: "rigid personnel management system where promotion is based merely on loyalty and seniority rather than exemplary performance, compensation structure that restricts the hiring of first-rate professionals, and the strict line-item budgeting that limits the flexibility in the allocation of funds."

In pushing for the NRA, Arroyo said tax collections could start on a clean slate since the agency will be free from "political interference."

Professional, merit-based NRA?

The NRA will be governed by a Revenue Board composed of 4 government and 3 private sector representatives.

The government representatives shall include the heads of the Department of Finance (as chairperson), the Department of Budget and Management, the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Private sector representatives shall be nominated "by peak professional organizations and appointed by the President."

The selection of personnel for the NRA will be strictly based on merit and fitness to "fully professionalize" the agency, Arroyo said.

BIR employees or officers, who will be offered to join the NRA but could opt not to, will be offered an "attractive separation or retirement package."

Those who will be separated from service as a result of the change in organization could get severance pay of not less than P100,000.

"The NRA will establish a performance-based management system which shall govern the selection, hiring, appointment, transfer, promotion or dismissal of all personnel," Arroyo said.

"Such system shall aim to attract and retain professionally competent, well-trained, honest, courteous and efficient personnel and to establish professionalism and excellence at all levels of the [NRA]," she added. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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