19 September 2015

Sleeping on the Job at the BIR-Pasig Branch

White Hair at BIR-Pasig
Technology has definitely made the lives of modern Filipinos better, especially if monitoring lax regulatory functions and inept public service is concern. With new gadgets, Filipino taxpayers were able to catch erring government workers not doing their jobs properly at the expense of the very people that pay them their salaries.

Take the case of Marge Caparas, president of a non-government organization called the Community of Filipino Teachers Inc., who was able to take a photograph of a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officer taking his time to do his job.

Caparas, who posted the said photo on her Facebook page, went to the BIR-Pasig last 10 September 2015 to have some documents processed and was dismayed to find out that the people whose signatures were needed usually arrive late or worse, go on extended birthday leaves.

In her very detailed account, Caparas related the frustration she felt when, after being made to wait and then passed on to the assessment division where she was told that the person in charge — "usually" arrives after lunch.

San Juan did get to work by noon (the BIR is supposed to have a "No Lunch Break" policy to make sure that public service should be continuous) but instead of getting down to work, he supposedly took his own sweet time settling down, then decided to take it easy, lolled back on his chair and got a female employee to pluck out his hair.

Worse, the other person whose signature was needed, a certain Ms. Ethel (could be Revenue Officer II Etheline Villareal) had been on birthday leave for almost a week (birthday leave for a week?). And since there is no one else who can sign for the documents Caparas needed, she just has to wait until the absent Ms. Ethel decides to show up.

Meantime, work stops.

The issue about San Juan has since reached Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda who responded in a Facebook post that the issue was brought already to the attention of BIR Commissioner Kim Henares.

Henares also sent an investigation team to find out the truth behind the issue.

As expected, San Juan's colleagues came to his rescue, claiming that he wasn't feeling well that day and had a migraine, which for all intents and purposes is a flimsy excuse that only confirms the inefficiency at the BIR office.

If a government employee is not feeling better, they can go on extended leave. Why did San Juan not availed it? Maybe San Juan wants to preserve his leave credits and get a hefty retirement pay.

Was it part of the female employee's job to relieve him of his migraine by plucking out his hair or massaging his head? How much time did he spent working on that office that day and how much time did he spent resting?

Taxpayers are now armed with smartphones and other gadgets that can capture or record the alleged misdeeds of people like San Juan and have the same uploaded on social media networks—where it will go viral and they end up being the talk of the town.

The next question is, when will the BIR investigation team release their findings?