By Chito Chavez
A representative of a business firm sought the assistance of the Quezon City Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) to trace the whereabouts of a man who allegedly run away with the P200,000 payment for the renewal of the business permit of the company he is working for.
Julius Avenido, the chief of staff of BPLO chief Garry Domingo, expressed willingness to assist the distraught business firm personnel but never gave any guarantee the suspect will be collared since the “culprit is not in any way connected with the BPLO or any office at the city hall’’.
He already alerted the local police and undercover security personnel roaming the city hall grounds to be “in a lookout’’ for the fixer who defrauded the hapless victim of the business renewal payment.
“We have for the meantime concealed the identity of the suspect to facilitate his arrest. I seek the assistance of the media to help trace his frequent “tambayans’’. We know that he has close ties with some media men,’’ Avenido noted.
With this latest incident, Avenido warned the taxpayers and business owners to never deal with fixers as this “might prove disastrous for them’’.
Domingo reiterated the fixers will not benefit them since the city government had instituted measures to facilitate tax payments.
He added that as long as the required documents are complete and in order transactions with the public would go smoothly.
Instead of paying the right amount of taxes, Domingo said that exorbitant fees may be demanded by the fixers and in the worst scenario crooks often run away with the taxpayers’ money without completing the transaction.
“Taun-taon naman binabanggit natin sa lahat ng panawagan natin na sana ang mga taxpayers natin ay iwasan ang makipag-deal sa mga fixers dahil taun-taon namang hindi tumitigil ang Pamahalaang Lungsod ng Quezon City na humanap ng paraan para lalong maging mas madali at efficient ang pagre-renew ng permit. Subukan ‘nyo po munang mag-renew. Hindi po natin kailangan na makipag-usap sa fixer dahil kayo po mismo kayang-kaya ninyo pong asikasuhin ang pagre-renew ng permit ninyo,” Domingo said.
If he had his way Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr., former chairman of the city council ways and means committee, wants longer jail terms and stiffer penalties for fixers.
He noted that fixers usually operate from January to March periods when business and real property tax payments are collected.
Ferrer said the measures being enforced by the city government is targeted to transform the city’s infrastructure and economy but also to promote the moral and ethical standards of public servants.
To fight corruption, the city government has implemented a modified set-up where the rebilling of tax assessments will now be handled by the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) to address the confusions on such matters in the previous years.
Mayor Herbert Bautista said the city administrator and the Quezon City Information Technology Development Office (QCITDO) regularly conduct random audit of transactions in the initial evaluation, assessment and billing and approval of payment and signatures to determine the trend of discrepancies, malfeasance or misfeasance in the evaluation, assessment or billing process.
Once irregularities are uncovered, the city administrator and the QCITDO may recommend the relief of the assigned Treasury
Department employees from their work stations as the concerned parties will be subjected to an investigation and disciplinary actions if warranted.
Domingo said unauthorized individuals are barred from loitering within the premises of the Revenue Generation Offices citing that their presence shall be presumed as “Acts of Fixing’’ and shall be dealt with accordingly.
In the past chaos and confusion marred the business tax payment in the city as the taxpayers are on a quandary on whom to approach to provide them with answers to what they deemed as excessive tax assessments.
Under the new set-up, rebilling of business tax payments when necessary may be entertained only upon the written authorization of the mayor or his authorized representative.
Bautista said the move ensures the “ease in doing business’’, efficiency, transparency and accountability in all official transactions with the city’s clients and taxpayers.
Registered business establishments found to have under declared their gross sales or receipts may be blocked or unblocked by the mayor or BPLO head based on the recommendation of the Review and Audit team.
Upon payment, Domingo may issue business permits provided the applicant of the registered businesses submit the location clearance from the City Planning and Development Office within 10 days.
Checks, mobile money and credit card payments under existing laws, ordinance, rules and regulations may be accepted in the payment of taxes and other forms of indebtedness to the city government.