Lawmaker questions non-implementation of tax stamps on alcoholic beverages

UNTV News   •   July 12, 2017   •   4613



MANILA, Philippines — Five years since Sin Tax Reform was passed into law, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is still not placing tax stamps on bottles of alcoholic beverages, as proof of tax compliance.

During the hearing of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Act Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio slammed the BIR for not implementing this part of Sin Tax Law, which ensures that proper taxes are paid by alcohol manufacturers.

“What’s the proof of payment? Is this like trust or something like in good faith? Unless this is implemented, we never know if BIR is collecting what they need to collect,” said Act Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio.

BIR said, even without tax stamps, they manage to collect taxes from alcoholic beverages even before these products are sold in the market.

They said that they have revenue officers whose task is to monitor the investor of manufactured products to be taxed.

“We are collecting taxes on alcohol production. When the product gets out of their manufacturing plant, we already have inventory of our taxes to be paid,” BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay said.

BIR guaranteed the House committee that they will submit a plan on how they will implement before year ends the tax stamps on alcoholic beverages.

Meanwhile, the issue of proliferation of fake stamps on tobacco products was also discussed during the hearing.
Cong. Prospero Pichay suggested the use of laser stamps, which he said are harder to counterfeit.

Department of Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez III, on the other hand, said, they are now taking actions against fake stamps.

“Among these measures are plans to change the stamp design and install circuit television or CCTV monitoring systems by cigarette manufacturers inside their warehouses so that BIR personnel can monitor their operations,” Department of Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez III said. – Joyce Balancio | UNTV News and Rescue

Finance dept. orders fund agencies to craft cyber defense strategy

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) has ordered government financial institutions (GFI), state-run pension fund, insurance agencies, and revenue and treasury agencies to work together in formulating a shared policy to shield their respective systems from possible cybersecurity threats.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the move is in line with the Duterte administration’s initiative to fast-track its digital transformation and strengthen the cybersecurity of key agencies against potential attacks, and data breaches in the digital landscape.

“We are keen on institutionalizing this cybersecurity program. As the Duterte administration fast-tracks its digital transformation initiatives to meet the challenges of the emerging New Economy, we must also see to it that we have the capacity to defend our critical systems from cyber-attacks from third parties and other possible hazards,” Dominguez said.

“Investing in cybersecurity is not only a crucial national security concern, but is also indispensable to protecting sensitive citizen information stored in the systems of our GFIs and other state-run institutions,” he added.

In line with this, Dominguez instructed GFIs and other agencies under his department to enter into an agreement on shared cyber defense strategy.

These agencies include the Land Bank of the Philippines, United Coconut Planters’ Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines; the Insurance Commission, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp., Government Service Insurance System and Social Security System; and the Bureau of the Treasury, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Bureau of Customs.

Dominguez said he has also ordered the creation of a working group composed of representatives from these agencies to work on identifying the potential cybersecurity threats and cases of cyber fraud that they may encounter, and on determining ways of eliminating or mitigating these risks.

He said the government may tap the expertise of the private sector in coming up with a joint cyber defense strategy.

The Finance chief also said that the government is taking a prudent approach to protecting the country’s financial “infostructure,” especially at this time when the digital space has become vulnerable to a wide range of sophisticated cyber attacks and threats.

“We are serious in protecting our national interests and ensuring the safety of citizen information so we are taking steps to heighten our digital protection strategies,” Dominguez said.

Bureau of Customs steps up drive vs rice smuggling

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is ramping up its campaign against rice smuggling even amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic by conducting raids on warehouses suspected of storing illegally imported grains following reports from concerned citizens, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the DOF said that Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero has assured Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that rice stocks imported by private traders during the pandemic would still be subject to “post-modification and post audit.”

This system will ensure that undervalued shipments are properly assessed and subsequently paid with the correct amount of duties and taxes.

Guerrero also said he had informed the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) that because rice is considered a “critical” commodity, traders were allowed to avail of the Provisional Goods Declaration in processing their shipments at this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

The FFF earlier questioned the BOC’s assessment and valuation system on the entry of rice imports.

“The BOC has found the valuation of several rice shipments with provisional goods declaration to be quite low compared to the prevailing market prices,” Guerrero said in his report to Dominguez.

“But those are subject to post-modification and post-audit. And in the meantime, we are still conducting the post-modification, verifying the payments of rice because some of them are clearly undervalued. So we will catch up in the post modification and post-audit,” he added.

Under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 07-2020, if the Customs district/sub-port collector accepts a provisional goods declaration, the duty and tax treatment of the goods under provisional declaration will not be different from that of goods with complete declaration.

For the release of shipments under tentative assessment, the importer will be required to post the required security, whether in the form of surety bond or cash bond.

Guerrero said the customs bureau has also responded to reports by concerned citizens regarding warehouses suspected of storing smuggled rice stocks by immediately issuing letters of authority to enable BOC officers to inspect such warehouses and seize goods without the requisite importation permits.

“We actually raided them and we found out that many of these warehouses were operating legally and their stocks are covered by proper documents,” Guerrero said.

Philippines, Japan ink 50-B yen standby loan deal for post-disaster efforts

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Japan signed an agreement for a 50 billion yen (around P23.3 billion) standby loan which aims to quickly disburse funding support for the government’s response to national calamities or health emergency, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, the DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Eigo Azukizawa signed the deal Tuesday on the second phase of the post-disaster standby loan (PDSL).

Under this agreement, the DOF said the disbursement of the standby loan to the Philippines will be triggered by either of the following circumstances: the declaration of a state of calamity; or the declaration of a state of public health emergency.

In the case of the current COVID-19 pandemic or any other public health emergencies, the imposition of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or its equivalent in the National Capital Region (NCR) or in any other highly urbanized area in the country will also trigger the disbursement of the loan, it added.

“The ongoing pandemic underscores the need to further improve our policy and institutional framework for disaster risk reduction and management. It likewise emphasizes the need to build our financial resilience against disasters and similar emergencies,” Dominguez said during the ceremonial signing of the loan deal at the DOF office in Manila.

The loan will be available for quick disbursement in tranches within three years once it is declared effective. It may be extended for an additional three-year period for up to four times.

The financing package under PDSL carries a fixed interest rate of 0.01 percent with a maturity of 40 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda welcomed the agreement, saying that “as a calamity prone country like the Philippines, Japan fully understands the value of safeguarding lives, infrastructure and livelihood.”

The signing of this loan accord comes after a separate 50-billion yen loan inked by both countries in July for the COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan, which aims to assist the Philippine government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease and aid Filipinos most affected by the pandemic.


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