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Bill seeks higher pay for BIR workers to stop corruption

With allegations of corruption continues to hound the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has filed a bill seeking to provide better pay and incentives to its employees which the Speaker claimed could help curb graft in the agency.
House Bill 4973, filed last February 6, was timely as barely a week later reports came out many employees of the BIR are leaving the agency because of starvation wage. It seeks to remove BIR from the coverage of Republic Act (RA) 6758 or the “Salary Standardization Law.”
Co-authored with Quirino Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua, the bill was meant not just to increase wages and benefits of BIR employees for its own sake but, more importantly, to eliminate corruption and professionalize the ranks of revenue officials and employees.
They noted that systemic corruption is a perennial issue that hounds the Bureau and many cases have been filed against erring officials of the revenue agency.
“However, for true reform to happen corruption should be addressed at its roots — low salaries and the lack of incentives that target the need of BIR personnel. If wages are too low for revenuers to support themselves and their dependents, the more likely they are to engage in corrupt behavior,” Alvarez said.
The two lawmakers added recruiting and retaining high-performing employees is a major challenge for tax authorities.
They noted while salaries for entry-level lawyers and accountants are at par with the private sector, room for career growth is lacking.
For instance, they noted that promotion to Attorney III and higher positions is limited due to small number of available plantilla positions. And for those in these positions already, they can only hope for promotions if they become Assistant Chiefs (Attorney IV) or Chiefs (Attorney V).
“As a result, in recent years, there has been a steady outflow of professionals and technical personnel in the Bureau,” Alvarez said.
Under the bill, the BIR is authorized to formulate its own compensation and position classification system which ensures just pay and equitable wages for BIR personnel under the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.
Likewise, the compensation should be generally comparable with those in the private sector and in accordance with minimum wage laws. The new system shall be determined through a comprehensive audit of actual duties and responsibilities of BIR officials and employees.
There should also be a periodic review of government compensation rates, taking into account the performance of the Bureau, its overall contribution to the national economy and the possible erosion in purchasing power due to inflation and other factors.
In addition to the new pay system, the bill also allows the Bureau to provide for other incentives to its personnel not provided under existing laws and Civil Service Laws, subject to the approval of the President.
Once approved by the President, the new compensation and position classification system will apply to all positions at the BIR. However, it prohibits any cut in the authorized pay of incumbent employees of BIR as of December 31, 2016.               


1 comment

  • jesus nazario

    Knowing that, like Hope, GREED springs eternal this bill is only as useful as a refrigerator or airconditioner in the Arctic or Antartic or a heater in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

    jesus nazario Friday, 17 February 2017 22:43 Comment Link

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