Monday, February 28, 2011

How Philippine public officials rob the coffer (Part II)

by Mortz C. Ortigoza
Here’s what I told Senator Migz Zubiri in a press conference I attended recently:
“I talked with a mayor-contractor who told me that the infamous pork- barrel should be directly given by the President (Benigno AquinoIII) to the mayors. Kasi sabi niya iyong pork, kukurakutin lang ni congressman iyong 25%, ika-cut pa ni DBM (Department of Budget & Management) ang 2% (kung mabilisan iyong bigayan ay 5% ang ika-cut nila), kukunin pa ni DPWH iyong 5%. Pero pag i-direct kay mayor, iyong kurakot sa kanya lang .”
There was chuckle from the crowd since guests who attended that meeting were mayors and DPWH officials.

Senator Zubiri retorted: “Ang importante diyan is the proper accounting. Accounting of materials utilize for transparency – iyan ang pinaka-importante. The pork barrel system is a system that has been there for many years, pati nga iyong United States may pork barrel din sila”
He told me how it is being utilized. He said that he personally advocates that all recipients and the proceeds of the pork should be published.

“I think the COA (Commission on Audit) should get involved. There are congressmen who are already indicted in the Sandiganbayan (court for public officials). They are awaiting verdicts on their misappropriation of the funds. For example, senatorial candidate ng first (congressional) district ng Bukidnon, si Neric Acosta. He gave his pork barrel to the foundation runs by his mother. Doon sila kumukuha ng sueldo nila. – which I think is wrong kasi government fund iyon – which I think should not be given to a private institution,” he stressed.
A donated public school house from the private sector with the same width, size, and height with its government counterpart cost P 350,000. A government-constructed edifice cost P650, 000. What is revolting is the latter lacks a door knob, ceiling, toilet, and paint unlike its private counterpart.
A chief of a district office of the Department of Public Works & Highway explained to me the glaring financial mismatch.
He said that from a P650, 000 budget the following are the government sanctioned deductions: Engineering and Administrative Overhead Expenses, 3.5%; Value Added Tax, 12%; Contractor’s Profit (CP), 10%; Overhead Contingency (OC), 10% or a total of 35.5% or P216,000.
But with the P650, 000 (government funded edifice) deducted by P 350,000 (privately donated building) the net result would be P300, 000 overprice. With this alleged kickback deducted again by the P216, 000 taxes and profits, there are still P84,000 that many suspects goes to the pocket of a congressman and his contractor.
And I am not yet talking here about the 20 percent profits (they earned from the above CP and OC. And I am not yet talking here about the defective and deficient construction they made.
This is one of the assailable examples, my dear Procopio, how congressmen particularly dupe the government.
(Hereunder is a pull-over from my column "Perspectives" publised last year at
Opps, before I end this column, this is how businessmen and local government officials rob a city government by under declaration of gross sales.
An insider in a tax office of a local government unit told me that a retail business with 12 cash register machines that earn a gross sale of P50 thousand each or P 600 thousand for all the 12 machines everyday, can be manipulated by declaring only the gross sales of the two machines.
He said the city is shortchanged by P150 thousand a month in terms of business taxes.
The city’s tax code in consonance with the Local Government Code mandates that the former can charge up to 1 percent of the gross sales of a business establishment.
“If you base tax on the computation of 10 cash register machines multiplied by P50,000 a day multiplied by 30 days and multiplied it with the 1% business tax then that would be a staggering P150 thousand a month tax fraud against a city,” he told me in whisper.
He said this happens only through the conspiracy of the store owner, the office of the mayor, and the office of the assessor.
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