If you love your country, pay your taxes - Henares
MANILA, Philippines - If you love your country and sincerely hope that it gets better, the best way to show it is to pay taxes.
During the 2nd Integrity Summit on Tuesday, September 18, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares made it clear that the reason the country has lagged behind its neighbors in development is that patriotism has not been strong in the Philippines.
Henares said advanced countries such as Japan and South Korea have put love of country "front and center," which is why their governments have been able to meet their development goals.
"What's missing in this country is our love for our country. We lagged behind our neighbors because we do not love our country. Look at Japan, the interest of their country is front and center for its citizens. It is also the same in South Korea," Henares said.
Henares said that while she believes that 90% of BIR personnel are honest, there are still 9% who are susceptible to corruption and one percent who are "really hard-headed."
While the BIR has already imposed stricter rules and digized systems to monitor its employees and their performance, those who have been harassed by BIR personnel should still come forward, according to Henares.
Henares also urged companies to complain to her directly if they encounter extortionists from the BIR.
She said that in most cases, companies that are harassed by BIR personnel refuse to complain because they don't intend to pay the right taxes in the first place. Henares said these companies also prefer to keep two books in their accounting.
"If you have complaints, write us. But don't be disappointed if we don't respond immediately. Investigations take a while. You have to be patient and give us more details," Henares said.
Henares said the government is doing its best to combat corruption even in the extractive industries. She said the government wants to strictly comply with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
The EITI is a global initiative that seeks to improve revenue disclosures by mining firms, among others.
Indonesia aims to become EITI compliant by next year and hopes to improve its competitiveness as a destination of extractive industry investments. - Rappler.com