June 22, 2024

Taxpayer speaks on unremitted P6 M tax collections in La Trinidad

This may easily be dismissed as propaganda considering it is nearing election time, but this is more a product of frustration and disappointment due to lack of urgency and a lackluster performance in dealing with the issue.
Taxes are said to be the lifeblood of the government. These exactions are supposed to be used by the government to serve the ends of public service.
But what happens when the taxes collected from the market vendors do not enter the coffers of the local government but end up in the pockets of government employees?
What happened? How did it happen? Is it even possible? Are there no internal audit or internal control mechanisms to avoid these incidents? Who are the employees involved in corruption? Are they rotting in jail where they should be? Was the money recovered? What are the steps undertaken by the chief executive to avoid future incidents like this?
The answers are elusive.
In 2019, Mayor Romeo Salda of La Trinidad, Benguet issued an administrative order (AO) creating a committee to conduct an inventory of the property for which a former municipal employee was accountable and to determine the responsibility for any shortage therein if there be any.
The committee composed of several department heads and other employees found that the cash accountability amounted to P5,472,703.45.
A demand letter dated August 2021 for payment was made to the estate of the former municipal employee to settle the aforesaid amount.
In the second semester of 2019, another municipal employee was dismissed from service for failure to remit his tax collection amounting to P1,296,607.84 bringing the total amount of unremitted taxes from both individuals to P6,769,311.29.
The sangguniang bayan issued an authority to the mayor to file appropriate charges before the local court to collect the remitted funds. Cases are already with the court.
Notwithstanding, this frustrated taxpayer would like to highlight some issues.
First would be the seeming lack of urgency to resolve this matter. A committee was created in 2019 but a demand letter against the employee was made in 2021, or two years later.
Second, are there any more erring employees? One might consider it isolated if done by one person but in this case, there are two. Who knows, maybe there could be more. I highly doubt that a single individual can pull off a heist with that huge amount.
Finally, transparency. The mayor should have been more transparent on this matter, as the power of taxation is plenary, hence should be under strict scrutiny. If at all, the mayor seems to be dismissive in his previous statements in several articles published on this matter.
To the honorable mayor, how did the unremitted P6 million affect the service delivery of the local government unit? Can you tell the public what remedial measures did you make to safeguard the people’s hard-earned money?
Again, this might be dismissed as another election propaganda but if you only acted fast, this issue could have been resolved in 2019. — NAME WITHHELD, La Trinidad, Benguet