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New BOC Team Optimistic on improved Revenue CollectionCustoms Commissioner Ruffy Biazon today (October 7, 2013) raised optimism on improving the Bureau of Customs (BOC) revenue collection performance with the assumption into office of the BOC’s five (5) newly appointed deputy commissioners.According to Biazon, the appointment of the new deputy commissioners is part of the first ever wide-ranging reform in the bureau. “This is a re-boot for the BOC” Biazon said adding that, “As such, this does not only give the BOC a fresh start, but it will also be easier for us to align our efforts towards attaining a common goal.”The five newly appointed deputy commissioners are, retired general and former Armed Force Chief of Staff Jessie Dellosa. Dellosa replaced former Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement Group Horacio Suansing. He is also the concurrent Officer-in Charge of the Intelligence Group (IG), a position left vacant after the resignation of retired general Danilo Lim over a month ago. Lawyer AgatonUvero for his part, replaced former Deputy Commissioner for Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group Prudencio Reyes Jr. Uvero is knowledgeable about port operations, having handled clients from the customs brokerage industry. Department of Finance (DOF) Assistant Secretary for International Finance Group (IFG) Ms.Edita Tan assumed the post of former Deputy Commissioner for Revenue Collection and Monitoring Group (RCMG) Peter Manzano, while senior Department of Budget and Management officer Ms. Myrna Chua, replaced former Deputy Commissioner for Internal Administration Group (IAG) Juan Lorenzo Tañada, and Information Technology expert Mr. Primo Aguas replaced former Deputy commissioner for Management Information System and Technology Group (MISTG) Caridad Manarang.According to Biazon, teamwork is an important factor in making the proposed BOC reforms, which was hatched by Malacañang, the DOF and the BOC succeed, even as he admitted that the Temporary Restraining Oder (TRO) issued by the court on the detail of 27 senior collectors to the Customs Policy Research Office (CPRO) was a temporary setback on the BOC’s reform program.“No one can defeat the power of reforms.” Biazon said, even as he called on the customs stakeholders to support the BOC reform program. “Let us all join together and work on a common goal to have the government’s envisioned reforms for the bureau delivered” he added.According to Biazon, over the medium and long term period, he expects the bureau to break the PhP 300 billion revenue collection mark under the new team.The five new customs deputy commissioner for their part had a common agenda to attain the government’s revenue goals. While each of them assured of prudent management in their respective offices, they were, however, one in saying that they will be working and coordinating closely with the commissioner towards attaining the government’s revenue goals.
DOF Issues Warning on Scam
‘Fund Resurgence Program’ Nonexistent, Secretary’s Signature Forged in Scam Papers
The Department of Finance would like to inform the public that certain letters are circulating advertising a claimed “Fund Resurgence Program” by the Department.
The DOF would like to clarify that no such program has ever existed and that the scam appears to be run with the intention of extracting sensitive personal information from unwary individuals.
The DOF has received reports certain persons were contacted by an entity named Prominente Marketing, claiming to be located at 26th Floor, Enterprise Building, Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. Prominente Marketing represented itself as authorized by the Department of Finance and the Metropolitan Trial Court to act as transfer agent to facilitate the transfer of funds from the purported Funds Resurgence Program of the Department of Finance.
In support of the same, Prominente Marketing made reference to court orders allegedly issued by Hon. Luis J. Arranz, the supposed Presiding Judge of Branch 08, Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, directing the Department of Finance to release certain monetary claims under the spurious Funds Resurgence Program.
There is, however, no Funds Resurgence Program under the Department of Finance and in fact, documents forwarded from Prominente Marketing and represented as coming from the DOF are fictitious. The alleged signature of Cesar Purisima, Secretary of the Department of Finance, appearing on each of the certificates, is likewise forged.
Evidently, this is a type of scam to elicit information and funds from unsuspecting individuals by unlawfully using the name of the Department of Finance, the Metropolitan Trial Court and even the National Bureau of Investigation.
To allegedly facilitate the release of funds, individuals were directed to provide sensitive personal information, including bank account numbers, addresses, and passport numbers, in correspondence to Prominente Marketing’s listed address. Solicitation of such information in writing, accompanied by a promise of compensation, is a hallmark of an attempted scam. The public is advised to be highly cautious of such notices, especially from entities claiming to transact on behalf of any Philippine government agencies.
DOF Urges US to Reach Debt-Ceiling Deal Quickly
Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima urged the United States Congress to quickly reach an agreement to raise the US’s borrowing limit, against the possibility of global economic disaster.
“It is crucial for the members of the US Congress to reach an agreement on the debt ceiling not just for their own country, but for the entire world. The world’s largest economy is now on the brink of default for no reason other than political posturing in Washington,” Purisima said.
“It is almost as if they are arguing about how to unlock a bank vault with a live bomb. If they cannot make a deal in time, it will blow up in their hands and take the world’s economies with them.”
The US Treasury has said that the time at which the US will reach the debt ceiling, currently set at $16.7 trillion, is October 17. This is the last day when the US will be able to meet all its obligations in full and on time given normal operations and given that all legal and prudent accounting measures have been exhausted. Should the US reach the limit on its borrowings, it would then exhaust any available cash reserves to meet obligations, and it would be forced to choose whether to honor its outstanding obligations selectively, or to dramatically cut spending to meet all its liabilities. If it chooses not to honor certain obligations, the US could be ruled as being in default.
The DOF Secretary warned that if the fiscal debate in the United States regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or the US health insurance reform law more popularly known as “Obamacare”, interfered with negotiations on raising the debt ceiling, the world would face economic disaster on an unprecedented scale
“The US is in political gridlock, failing to reach an agreement over Obamacare – a healthcare reform affecting 313 million people. However, their Congress has to realize the implications of defaulting on $12 trillion of outstanding debt, almost twenty-three times the $517 billion in debt which forced Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy in 2008,” Purisima said.
“According to the IMF, a US default can drive US long-term rates up by as high as 2%, crash US equity prices by 27%, and weaken the dollar by 13%. They estimate US growth would likely be reduced by at least 7%. Emerging markets will see their growth blunted and Europe will be thrown violently back into recession. This is a nightmare scenario of the worst sort and I strongly urge the US political leadership to make all efforts to avoid this,” added Purisima.
DOF Undersecretary and Chief Economist Gil Beltran also noted that the Philippines would have to significantly revise economic planning, were the US to default.
“The Philippines would have to re-evaluate economic projections in light of a US default. For every percentage point rise in US interest rates, Philippine interest rates rise by 0.80 percentage point. Also, for every percentage point rise in Philippine interest rates, the Philippines loses 0.36 of a percentage point in real GDP growth,” Beltran said.
“Fortunately, thanks to our strong and structural current account surplus, which was at 4.4% of GDP for the first half of the year, the Philippines has room to offset these negative effects through monetary and fiscal stimulus.”
NAPOLES is a registered taxpayer of BIR Revenue District Office No. 43-A, East Pasig City with address at No. 635 San Isidro Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Information gathered during investigation disclosed that NAPOLES was able to acquire and register in her name real properties during the taxable years 2011 and 2012. Among those properties is a residential house located in Los Angeles, California, USA and a farm lot in Bayambang, Pangasinan.
NAPOLES acquired in 2011 a condominium unit in Los Angeles, California worth
P54.73 million. She also had a 1/9 share in a Bayambang, Pangasinan property purchased in 2012 equivalent to P1.49 million. BIR records, however, showed that NAPOLES did not file any Income Tax Return (ITR) for taxable years 20011 and 2012; nor were there any records of returns filed that will prove that gifts, bequests or devices were given to her.
Using the Expenditure Method of Investigation, the unreported income of NAPOLES was established by a comparison made between the amount of money she spent in buying the aforementioned properties and her unreported income.
The Expenditure Method of tax investigation is based on the theory that if the subject taxpayer’s expenditures during a given year exceed his reported income, and the source of the funds used to make the expenditures is unexplained, such expenditures represent unreported income.
Thus, the difference between the aggregate yearly expenditure of NAPOLES for taxable years 2011 and 2012 and total amount of unreported income for the same years constituted a substantial under-declaration of more than thirty percent (30%), and such unreported income is considered as prima facie evidence of her fraudulent scheme to defeat payment of taxes.
The total income tax liability of NAPOLES was computed at
P32.06 million, inclusive of surcharges and interests, broken down into: P31.38 million in 2011 and P0.68 million in 2012.
The case against JEANE CATHERINE LIM NAPOLES is the 191st filed under the RATE program of the BIR under the leadership of Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto-Henares. (reytdlc)