Thursday, May 23, 2024

BIR, BOC ramping up digitalization to curb corruption

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) are ramping up their respective anti-corruption campaigns by modernizing their operations through digitalization.

Department of Finance (DOF) secretary Benjamin Diokno identified digitalization as the key in transforming and eradicating corruption within the government’s two main revenue agencies.
Finance secretary Benjamin Diokno

Department of Finance (DOF) secretary Benjamin Diokno identified digitalization as the key in transforming and eradicating corruption within the government’s two main revenue agencies.

“I think, to be fair with both agencies, they have done a lot [of digitalization] already during the past administration. What we can promise is, we’ll do even better,” said Diokno on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at an organizational briefing before the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

The Digital Transformation (DX) Program of the BIR aims to transform the agency into a data-driven organization. In 2021, 93 percent of returns were filed electronically, and taxpayers were offered more convenient ways to pay taxes as BIR services were made available 24/7.

Over at the BOC, deputy commissioner Edward James Dy Buco noted that the agency was one of the first government agencies to implement paperless transactions.

The World Bank (WB) is currently supporting the digitalization of the BOC through a $88.28 million financing for the Philippine Customs Modernization Program. The project focuses on transitioning from a largely manual and paper-based organization to a modernized BOC, achieving global standards and full modernization by 2024.

Dy Buco told senators that 91.18 percent or 155 out of 170 customs processes are already automated.

On March 1, 2022, the BOC, in coordination with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), also completed a national action plan for cross-border paperless trade.

In addition, the BOC has enrolled in various integrity enhancement and moral transformation programs, according to Dy Buco.

BIR commissioner Lilia Guillermo urged the public to cooperate with the government by migrating to digital channels for their transactions with the government. Meanwhile, Dy Buco assured the senators that contactless transactions are possible.

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