Students joined the Department of Finance (DOF) and Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) earnest tax campaign to boost compliance and revenues by hosting an inter-university marketing competition. Participants in the finals round of the marketing tilt dubbed the Ateneo Intercollegiate Marketing Seminar (AIMS) held last 6 December 2014 bested each other in developing strategies to communicate the value of paying taxes right to the Filipino public.
Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said, “As part of our strengthened commitment to engage civil society to ensure the sustainability of reforms beyond 2016, we are keen to work with the youth, academe, media, and non-government organizations in discourse and crowd-sourcing governance innovations. We look forward to more partnerships in the future.”
Through the competition, the DOF engaged the youth in a pivotal problem: communicating reforms and the value of paying taxes. Of particular concern is low citizen awareness on why taxes are needed, where they go, as well as how they can pay their fare share and make government accountable for their contribution.
Winners of the competition proposed a campaign entitled, “Buwis Buhay: Buwis Para sa Buhay,” aiming to improve citizen perception of taxation by framing the social obligation as an act of heroism, ultimately benefiting the taxpayers themselves. Bureau of Internal Revenue Assistant Commissioner Marilou del Rosario sat as a judge in the final round.
Team members Micah Nieriz Agustin, Denise Anne Olondriz, James Arvin Ong, Rainier Renzo Santos, and Rey Carlos Valero–all senior BS Management Engineering students at the Ateneo de Manila University–impressed judges by proposing a “tax-o-meter” showing the equivalent benefit of taxes paid in terms of public goods and services, and a “Salamat” series of advertisements, thanking each sector and taxpayer for their contribution to nation building.
Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares said, “We find the students’ fresh ideas very invigorating to public discourse. The winning team is right to link revenue and expenditure information to form a coherent public finance value story. The more people understand the value of paying taxes, the better we can boost tax compliance.”
Previously, 150 of the best student marketers from different universities such as the Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, University of Asia & the Pacific competed in the elimination round. Tasked to devise strategies to increase citizen engagement with the DOF’s three satellite websites supporting the reform agenda: Pera ng Bayan (www.perangbayan.com), Customs ng Bayan (www.dof.gov.ph/customsngbayan), and Iskor ng ‘yong Bayan (www.iskor.blgf.gov.ph).
The AJMA AIMS Team 2014, through one of its project heads Casey Calara, said, “We are proud to have successfully made our 20th and best Ateneo Intercollegiate Marketing Seminar yet by focusing on a social advocacy, instead of tackling a corporate marketing problem, as it had always been in the past. This competition was the perfect avenue for bright minds from different universities to come together and build the nation with their marketing competencies.”