APRIL 19, 2006
 (STAR) By Donnabelle L. Gatdula - The combined collections of the government’s two major revenue generating agencies rose by 31 percent in the first three months of 2006 to P177 billion, from P135 billion in the same period last year.

In a roundtable discussion in Malacañang, President Arroyo said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) was able to collect P135 billion for the period January to March 2006, about 29 percent higher than the P105 billion collected during the same period last year.

She added that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) collected P42 billion in taxes and import duties for the three-month period this year, 40 percent more than the P30 billion it collected in the first quarter of last year.

The combined 31 percent increase in revenues was attributed to the heightened drive of the government to go after tax evaders and smugglers. The full implementation of the new value-added tax (VAT) law also helped in the improved collections of the agencies, the Chief Executive said.

Mrs. Arroyo said the revenues generated from the intensified collection efforts of the BIR and the BOC would finance basic infrastructure projects such as school buildings and roads, as well as social services particularly on education and health.

Accounting for about 67 percent of the total revenues raised by the National Government, the BIR expects revenue collections to hit P675.4 billion for 2006, or 26.36 percent more than last year’s P534.5 billion.

In 2005, the BIR missed its collection goal by a hefty P12.4 billion due to the stand-off caused by the resignation of then BIR Commissioner Guillermo Parayno Jr., who joined the Hyatt 10 group led by former Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.

But the BIR attributed the better-than-programmed collections this year to the full implementation of Republic Act 9337, otherwise known as the Expanded Value Added Tax Act of 2005, as well as the agency’s drive against tax evasion campaign under Operation RATE (Run After Tax Evaders).

For its part, the BOC is targeting its collections to increase by 38 percent to P196 billion this year from last year’s P141.7 billion. Last year, the BOC’s revenue collections went up by 15.7 percent but were P9.5 billion short of its P151.2 billion goal.

The BOC has exceeded its monthly target for three straight months this year after its new chief embarked on a five-point reform agenda that covers intensified anti-smuggling drive, enhanced trade facilitation and process, and computerization program.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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