Raffy Tulfo reminds BIR to target ‘big fish’, not ‘small fry’

·1 min read
PASAY, PHILIPPINES - 2022/05/18: Senator Raffy Tulfo delivers a speech during a media press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center. (Photo by Josefiel Rivera/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
PASAY, PHILIPPINES - 2022/05/18: Senator Raffy Tulfo delivers a speech during a media press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center. (Photo by Josefiel Rivera/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Senator Raffy Tulfo criticized the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on Tuesday (August 16) after the latter supposedly visited the homes of a vlogger and online seller to question them about their taxes.

Tulfo is the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Energy.

He emphasized that the focus should be on “big fish” like oil smugglers, and not “small fries” like vloggers and online sellers.

"Bakit di nila unahing habulin ang mga bigtime oil smugglers na limpak-limpak na pera ang pwede nilang makolekta kumpara sa mga vloggers at individual online sellers na alam naman nilang barya-barya lamang ang makokolekta nila?" he said.

(Why don’t they first go after bigtime oil smugglers wherein they [the BIR] can collect large sums of money compared to vloggers and individual online sellers wherein they can only collect so little?)

Not only did he criticize the BIR, he also called out the Bureau of Customs (BOC), who the Senator said could do better in prevention of oil smuggling. Tulfo also looked into the possibility of BIR or BOC officials getting paid to look the other way on tax collections for bigtime oil smugglers.

He added, "Bakit hindi na lang bisitahin ng mga taga BIR o BOC ang mga bahay at katukin ang mga pinto ng mga bigtime oil smugglers?” he said. Baka naman hindi nila ito kayang gawin dahil itong mga oil smugglers ang mismong kumakatok sa kanilang pinto every month to pay under the table."

(Why doesn’t the BIR or BOC visit the homes and knock on the doors of bigtime oil smugglers? Perhaps they are not able to do this because it is the oil smugglers who knocks on the doors [of the BIR] every month to pay under the table.)

The senator stressed that "the government must know their priorities if their intention is to maximize state revenue through taxation."

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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