Posts Tagged ‘BIR’

Cagayan de Oro landmark burns.

Time to bid Ororama Megacenter in Lapasan, near the Agora area, adieu. At least, for now. As of this writing the fire has been controlled although thick smoke still continues contributing to our city’s air pollution.

What is it with locally owned malls and fire? Remember MegaCenter’s sister in Cogon? How about Gaisano Cogon? Both burned to the ground in the 90s although later rebuilt.

Although we do have more malls to choose from now, the Ororama malls are part of every Kagay-anon’s memory and experience. I have fond memories of the pizza place located on their ground floor, of its cinemas (they were once the cleanest in the city) and its bowling lanes. Never mind how chaotic it was inside; you cannot trully say that you’re from CDO unless you have visited this mall. If you haven’t yet then it’s a little too late for that.

Gandarosa gets promoted.

BIR director Mustapha Gandarosa, who has no love lost for local businessmen, and topic of our last post, has been “axed”, as a local daily puts it.

Promoted is more like it. He will be designated as the “chief of staff to the deputy commissioner for Special Concerns Group”.

Will this make everyone happy?

Oil dips. Everything else doesn’t.

Much of what goes on everyday tend to turn more of us into pessimists.

There are certain trend, however, that we are happy to see:

Crude oil price for the past month
Crude oil price for the past month
Crude oil price for the past year
Crude oil price for the past year

These graphs, taken from Crude Oil Price Forecast, show the downward trend in crude oil price, which currently stands at $62.09. We are all expecting a new wave of pump price rollback but The Big Three are always known to be sluggish in this regard. A fare rollback is also wished for but the LTFRB tends to be lethargic as well.

Criminal Sanctuary

The PNP has identified 5 areas in the city known to harbor lawless elements. The list does not mean to label all or most of the residents of these areas as criminals. These baddies are frequently transient residents. They can strike anywhere, anytime. However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to exert extra caution when you visit these areas:

  • Barangay Macabalan
  • Barangay Puntod
  • Barangay Consolacion
  • Barangay 31
  • Barangay 35

Of Eggs and Chicken

Posted: October 21, 2008 in Bisag Unsa / Random Rants
Tags: , ,

The Coalition of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Associations of Northern Mindanao is staying true to their word: NO BUSINESS TODAY.

Several businesses (the actual number of participants is uncertain; we will see today) will not open their stores to the consuming public today as a protest to the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) alleged harassment through “arbitrary and oppressive” tax assessments.

This is touted as a rare show of unity among business establishments in the city against the behemoth (caching!!!) government institution.

What will become of this protest remains to be seen. It has already reached the pages of a national daily and a local paper (but not in official city website).

Whenever I hear of complaints directed at the BIR (who doesn’t have complaints against the BIR anyway) I am reminded of the ‘egg-or-chicken’ question:

Businesses exist to provide the public goods and services at a price. Profit is essential. However, these establishments have to pay various taxes. They are very much aware of this.

The BIR has tax collection targets. We need taxes to fund government projects. These projects are meant for the public’s benefit.

During tax collection time, do businesses really fully pay the taxes that are due them? (Are they honest?)

Does the BIR really make accurate computations and fully turn over their collections? (Are they also honest?)

Let’s face it, the answer to both questions is ‘no’!

(Don’t get me wrong. There are honest taxpayers as there are honest revenue officials. Both are rare and facing imminent extinction.)

It is not plain greed. Often there is also a deeply-rooted distrust for the opposite party. Some taxpayers reason that their taxes never get to the right projects or people anyway, that sizable amounts end up in the wrong bank accounts. Some revenue officials argue that they are offered hefty gifts in exchange for some mathematical adjustments.

Consider Financial Disaster A:

Let’s say I want to be a fair and model citizen so I want to pay my taxes honestly,  that in spite the disheartening thought of widespread corruption, I want to be an agent for change. So come tax collection time, my accountant finds that I owe our government P100,000. I swallow hard and close my eyes with the thought of parting with my honestly- and hard-earned money. I’ll be lucky if I am assigned an equally honest tax agent; happy ending. But what if I get an unscrupulous kobrador, who offers me a 25% discount. I think that P25,000 can buy me a new shiny cellphone or can pay for some heavy car beautification. Or if I am elevated to my less worldly, more altruistic self, I can donate that small amount to a worthy cause. But I did write ‘unscrupulous’ collector, not one who shares my less wordly and more altrustic ideals, so there is a catch: I pay P75,000 and get a receipt for P50,000. Against my mother’s disapproval of swearing I exclaim: WTF! But I get a ‘25% discount’ smile in return. I threaten to report the incident. And as a result, I am rewarded with threats, harassment, and other inconveniences to my once peaceful existence. So come next collection time I:

  • continue fighting the system, a lonely one-man battle, for the remaining years of my existence, with extinction a guaranteed outcome.
  • tell the next tax guy: “My standard rate is 25%; take it or leave it!” (At this point my hair has completely gone gray and my wrinkles have become so prominent people think I’m my mother’s older sister.)

Consider Financial Disaster B:

Let’s suppose I want to keep as much of my income for my own disposal. After all it’s mine, I worked for it. So come tax collection time, my accountant finds that I owe our government P100,000. Tax collector comes and I say, in my most even, most convincing, and most let’s-both-be-reasonable-we-can-both-benefit-from-this voice: “Let’s both be reasonable; we can both benefit from this.” If I am assigned an unscrupulous tax agent, it’s a happy ending. As his 25% warms in his pocket we might even share an expensive drink (I pour a small amount for myself which I never drink because I simply don’t; he gets to bring home the rest of the bottle). If honest tax agent gets my name I’m in a bind. Will he:

  • take my offer? After all as a government employee supporting a young family of 4, the pay is never enough. I show that I can empathize with him.
  • refuse my offer? He is too honest. I tell him the system will consume him whole, will slowly and painfully gnaw away his being. He threatens to report me and I laugh at him: he has no proof. And when he does tell his superior he is reprimanded. His boss visits me and apologizes for his agent’s obstinacy and close-mindedness during a round of drinks (he brings home the bottle). Honest agent is summarily transferred to the hinterlands of the Cordilleras. To face extinction.

Which came first, the egg or the chicken?

ADDENDA:

Want to find out more about our BIR regional director? Google “Mustapha Gandarosa”.