Thursday, October 23, 2008

“New BIR commissioner will solve this problem,“ says Jaraula

By Joel Escol
Cagayan de Oro City mayor Constantino Jaraula is optimistic that the problem between BIR District Office 16 regional director and the members of the Coalition of Chamber of Commerce and Industries (CCCI) will finally come to an end when the new commissioner assumes office on November 1, 2008.

He told reporters in an interview that the recent “Sara Protesta” staged by the CCCI members all over Northern Mindanao would bear fruit as their grievances they put in writing was already sent to the office of President Gloria Arroyo in Malacanang.
He said he is in contact with the president as well as the Secretary of Finance Margarito Teves and he even personally handed the letter of the coalition to the President. “I am confident this problem between Dir. Gandarosa and coalition members would be resolved soon,” the mayor told reporters.

For his part, Lawyer Oscar Musni, spokesperson of the coalition said over a television station that the members of the coalition are not afraid of the charges that regional director Gandarosa is planning to file for those who joined the “Sara Protesta” last week.
He said the reported charges on economic sabotage against the CCCI members who joined the protest on October 22, 2008 have no legal basis according to the point of view of the coalition members.
Meanwhile, BIR-DO 16 regional director Mustapha Gandarosa in an open letter sent to this paper said since he assumed office as regional director of BIR district office 16 in June 2006, the bureau was at the tail end as far as tax generation is concerned.

“Few months later and due to my reforms and effective and equitable tax administration the regional office was recognized by the BIR National Office as among the Top Three record holder in tax collection. This is a recognition that I have kept for three consecutive years, he explained.

He said BIR district office 16 was included in the top 3 Top performing BIR district offices for the last three years because of his commitment to help President Gloria Arroyo’s campaign to collect more taxes thru legal means in order that our government can finance more projects as well as give more social services to the people.

“We have maintained our yearly collection target and even exceeded them because we feel the government needs to implement more projects. We also religiously follow orders from the national office to conduct surveillance on private companies and corporations that we suspect are not declaring their daily sales in good faith. Our efforts proved we are heading to the right path because we have increased our collections tremendously and even allowing the bureau to land in the Top Three spot for best performing districts.”

Gandarosa said his office’s massive tax collection efforts to collect more taxes were also perceived by some local businessmen as a threat to their business operations to deny the truth of them mis-declaring their real taxes.

“ Some group of businessmen who saw me as a threat to their business also started maligning me and accusing me of “harassing” them which I also vehemently denied. These are all pure fabricated allegations to discredit my reputation to the national office and to the people of the region where I served. They even wrote the president and told her of so many things which I did not do. I hope God will forgive them and guide them to the right path. They should do the right thing. If they have evidence that some of my men are undesirables and have accepted bribes why should they subject me to trial by publicity when we have courts that could hear their allegations? We have proper forums that will conduct fair trial. All I need is fair and justice and not trial by publicity,” the regional director added.

He said “to those businessmen who are hit by my strict implementation of tax reforms I hope they will see light and instead help our dying economy by honestly paying their taxes. Those people who cannot buy me are the ones who are after me. But I have to do what my superiors have instructed me to collect more taxes thru legal means.“

“How can I become a corrupt official when I don’t gamble, womanized or even have other vices? I don’t even socialize. I don’t need to ask financial help because our family has been blessed already even when I was a kid. I grew up with my parents who have fortunes in life.”

He said prior to his appointment as regional director of the BIR district office 16, he has worked hard for 13 years in the Middle East based in Riyadh and Jeddah all in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as Revenue Attache and he was paid in dollars. “I have even kept a dollar account in Saudi Arabia until now enough to enjoy the remainder of my life.”

Gandarosa said for many decades of BIR district office #16, those previous officials have not even bothered to put their own office. It was only during his time that he had successfully established the biggest BIR building in Mindanao thru a lease-purchase agreement with Land Bank. “
This is because I am committed and dedicated to serve the administration of Pres. Gloria Arroyo” the regional director said in his letter.

He said it was also during his time that the region received an award from the national office recognizing his clients as outstanding taxpayers like the Bukidnon government represented by Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri and UKC Builders represented by Mr and Mrs Dodong Uy. This is first to happen that the national office has recognized two outstanding taxpayers from Mindanao.

In Gingoog City, where he was also previously assigned he said he has increased collection up to 127 percent in the first year of his assignment. After two years he was sent to Bukidnon to institute reforms in tax collection. From a mere collection of 33 million, he said he has increased them to more than a hundred million pesos.
“Records in the office would show that I have increased up to 339 percent collection,” Gandarosa stressed.

“Now in Cagayan de Oro, I have also instituted tax reforms because the region’s collection was a problem. As a dedicated servant I even stopped our Christmas party, anniversary celebration, our monthly staff meeting and even my birthday celebration so that my name would not be tarnished and used by my personnel in solicitations to protect my integrity. We transferred to our new and world class BIR building with no celebration at all as we remain to be of low profile,” he pointed out.

He said these were his proud legacies that “I want people in the region to remember me. I am a dedicated servant and I cannot allow that my detractors would only destroy my good reputation, just because they don’t want to pay their taxes fairly,” the regional director concluded


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