A.- (a) The Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council (IAAGCC) is a voluntary association originally organized in 1997 among the heads of the Commission on Audit (COA), Office of the Ombudsman (Omb.), Civil Service Commission (CSC), the defunct Presidential Commission Against Graft and Corruption (PCAGC), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and the Department of Justice (DOJ).
(b) The IAAGCC evolved from a core group of mutual friends composed of CSC Comm. Ramon Ereneta, Asst. Omb. Abelardo Aportadera, and NBI Dep. Dir. Federico Opinion who regularly meet informally as early as in 1993 in the office of COA Comm. Sofronio Ursal to compare notes on the prevalence of graft as uncovered in the field reports of their respective agencies, and to find solutions to the unabated problem of corruption.
After a series of group discussions, the Ombudsman, the Chairmen of COA, CSC, and PCAGC, and the Dir. of NBI, finally forged on June 11, 1997 a Memorandum of Agreement where they voluntarily agreed that their respective agencies closely coordinate with one another; undertake inter-agency skills training; and promote inter-agency conferences. On the same occasion, the signatories approved two Resolutions, one constituting the Inter-Agency Consultative Body (IACB), and the other approving the training course on fraud detection and investigation. Later, on July 24, 1998, the Department of Justice (DOJ) joined the IAAGCC.
Then in a letter dated September 28, 1998 to the Inter-Agency Consultative Body (IACB) Chairman, the then Philippine President commended the member agencies for fostering closer cooperation in the detection, investigation and prosecution of graft.
(c) Some past IAAGCC completed projects that can be cited follow:
1/ Skills training in fraud investigation held at Baguio City on June 23-27, 1997 conducted by the Academy of Certified Fraud Examiners based in Texas, U.S.A. Sixty-seven (67) participants from member agencies attended the seminar.
2/ Symposium on graft prevention and investigation attended by 160 participants from COA, Office of the Ombudsman, CSC, NBI and PCAGC on October 17, 1997 in Quezon City.
3/ Dialogue on team building among regional heads of COA, Office of the Ombudsman, CSC, NBI, and PCAGC of Regions VI, VII and VIII, held in Cebu City on October 31, 1997.
4/ Capability building seminar sponsored by the Canadian International Development Assistance program held at Clark Air Field, Pampanga on March 9-13, 1998 attended by 66 participants from the five member agencies.□
(Excerpts of Chapter 3, pp. 87-108, Readings in Philippine State Audit.)
ANSWER (A.) – (1) The barangay is the basic political unit of Philippine Government, and its role is to serve as the primary planning and implementing unit of government policies, plans, programs, projects and activities in the community, and as a forum wherein the collective views of the people may be expressed, crystallized and considered, and where disputes may be amicably settled.
(2) Barangay officials, which include and members of the Lupong Tagapamayapa, are compensated in the form of honoraria, allowances, and such other emoluments as may be authorized by law or barangay, municipal, or city ordinance in accordance with the Local Government Code. The minimum honorarium of barangay officials is set at Php1,000 per month for the punong barangay; and Php600 per month for the sangguniang barangay members, the barangay secretary, and the barangay treasurer. (Sec. 393, RA 7160) The barangay government is covered by the Revised Position Classification and Compensation System administered by the Department of Budget and Management. Consequently, compensation adjustments authorized by law or the President, shall also apply to barangay personnel. (EO 332 dtd. 05.16.96)
(3) Aside from honoraria, the following are the other benefits that barangay officials may be entitled:
a. Christmas bonus in the form of cash gift at the rate authorized by law which covers the Punong Barangay, Sangguniang Barangay members, Barangay Treasurer, and Barangay Secretary, which should be at least One thousand pesos (Php1,000.00) each (DILG Brgy. Primer 4th Ed.);
b. Insurance coverage under RA 6942 which shall include, but not be limited to temporary and permanent disability, double indemnity, accident insurance, death and burial benefits, for the Punong Barangay, Sangguniang Barangay members, Barangay Treasurer, Barangay Secretary, and Barangay Tanods not exceeding twenty (20) each barangay.
c. Free medical care including subsistence, medicines, and medical attendance in any government hospital or institution, for the Punong Barangay, Sangguniang Barangay members, Barangay Treasurer, and Barangay Secretary. Hospital care shall include surgery or surgical expenses, medicines, x-rays, laboratory fees, and other hospital expenses. In extreme emergency, the same officials may be confined in private hospitals with expenses chargeable against barangay funds at not more than Php 5,000 per official;
d. Exemption from paying tuition and matriculation fees for the legitimate dependent children attending state or government colleges or universities of the Punong Barangay, Sangguniang Barangay, members, Barangay Treasurer, and Barangay Secretary, during their term of office only;
e. Conferment of appropriate civil service eligibility on the basis of the number of years service in the barangay for Punong Barangay, Sangguniang Barangay members, Barangay Treasurer, and Barangay Secretary, who have completed their term of office, pursuant to the CSC rules on the matter;
f. Preference in appointment to any government position to which they are qualified for the Punong Barangay and Sangguniang Barangay members after their term of office.
[Taken from pages 7,11-12. How To Manage Barangay Finances.]
A. – “Taxpayer’s Rights” appearing in statutes or revenue measures that are not enforced or at least asserted are useless declaratory statements which have the reverse effect of encouraging more violations with impunity by unscrupulous tax collectors and assessors. But enforcing taxpayer’s rights is a daunting task which requires preparing letters of protests and appeals, appearing before administrative bodies, and even resorting to judicial action. In sum, enforcing rights demands the expenditure of considerable time, effort, and money, which small taxpayers can ill afford.
But there is something that a small taxpayer can do sort of hiring expensive tax lawyers and accountants; and that is to understand thoroughly and well the legal grounds of his case, and then to assert his right by arguing verbally before tax people in the local treasury or assessment offices. Not infrequently one meets sensible personnel who have the patience to listen and understand verbal explanations of small taxpayers, and who actually help in granting their rights under the law. Failing that, the taxpayer can take the next step by seeking the assistance of knowledgeable relatives, friends, and even helpful politicians or officials in government, who have the time to understand his case and willing to intercede in his behalf before the local treasurer or assessor. In many instances, if the taxpayer has indeed a solid case backed by law, sensible treasurers and assessors are known to give in to the rights of taxpayers. But that is as far as the small taxpayer can go all by himself.
Before turning to other options of enforcing taxpayer’s rights, there is one thing that no taxpayer should do to secure his right: and that is to bribe people in government. Bribery is a serious offense, and the person who offered the bribe is equally guilty of the crime of corruption of a public official, and can suffer the same penalty as the corrupted officer.
[From pages 425 – 426, PHILIPPINE LAW ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT TAXATION, VOL. I]
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2. The Bisayan
This Website is maintained by lawyer Sofronio B. Ursal, a retired Commissioner of the Philippine Commission on Audit (1992 to 1999).
One of the objectives of this Website is to disseminate the available publications on good governance books which are listed in the PUBLICATIONS SECTION. These books are available in the Philippines at National Book Store, Central Book Supply, Fully Booked, and Popular Bookstore, and their branches nationwide. Prepaid foreign orders are also accepted in US dollar currency plus cost of freight.
More importantly, this Website is intended to propagate good governance issues to the public, as a continuing contribution to the enhancement of public service, however modest it may be, which the author had served for half a century of his life. As a platform for this purpose, there is an AUTHOR’S OPINION SECTION in the Website written in Question and Answer Format.
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SOFRONIO B. URSAL
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