On the fourth month of his presidency and the third month of the 15th Congress, P-Noy was again not able to approve a new law in September 2010. One law, however, was published in two newspapers of general circulation on October 9, 2010, and consequently became effective on October 24, 2010. This was Republic Act No. 10143, or the Philippine Tax Academy Act, which was approved by the House of Representatives on February 1, 2010 and by the Senate on June 4, 2010, and lapsed into law on July 31, 2010 without the signature of President GMA.
The Act created the Philippine Tax Academy which shall serve as a learning institution of primarily tax collectors and administrators of government. It will handle all the trainings, continuing education program, and other courses for all officials and personnel of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), and the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF). The Academy will develop and implement a curriculum not only on the technical aspects of tax collection, administration and compliance, but also on the career orientation and development for civil servants. It shall seek to mold, develop and enhance the skills and knowledge, moral fitness, efficiency and capability of tax collectors and administrators.
All existing officials and personnel of the BIR, BOC and BLGF are required to undergo the re-tooling and enhancement seminars and training programs of the Academy. Moreover, all applicants are required to pass the basic courses before they can be hired by these government agencies whether on a contractual or permanent status.
The Academy will have a 7-member Board of Trustees, with the representative from the Department of Finance as ex officio Chairperson, the representatives from the BIR and BOC as ex officio Vice-Chairpersons, the representative from the BLGF and 3 representatives from the academe (with 5-year teaching experience from reputable schools) as members. The representatives from the BIR, the BOC and the BLGF will be chosen from nominees of the Secretary of Finance, while the representatives from the academe will be chosen from nominees of state universities and/or accredited private educational institutions. The members of the Board of Trustees will serve for a term of 3 years.
The Academy will have separate learning institutes for the BIR, BOC and the BLGF, each of which will be administered by a Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor. The Academy will also have a President who, together with the Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors, willl constitute the executive officials of the Academy, who will be appointed by the Secretary of Finance for a term of 3 years, without prejudice to subsequent reappointment.
The Secretary of Finance, in coordination with the Commissioners of the BIR and the BOC, and the Executive Director of the BLGF, in consultation with representatives from the academe, will issue the implementing rules and regulations within 90 days from the effectivity of the Act.
Here’s hoping that the Academy can take the first step in transforming the BIR and the BOC into a more effective and, more importantly, more principled, government agency befitting the high hopes for the P-Noy administration.