Today is: Sat, May 25, 2013
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US government corporation that assists countries in reducing poverty and promoting sustainable growth, awarded the Threshold Program assistance to the Philippines in 2006. Like other MCC threshold programs, the Millennium Challenge Account – Philippines Threshold Program (MCA-PTP) was designed to help the country improve its performance on specific indicators and eventually become eligible for an MCC Compact grant (see www.mcc.gov for more details).
MCA-PTP was implemented from November 2006 to May 2009 with a total grant amount of $20,685,000. The program was managed by USAID, and implemented through a contract with Management Systems International (a US-based consulting firm) and a grant to The Asia Foundation. Threshold Program objectives, scope and performance indicators are outlined in the Strategic Objective Grant Agreement between USAID and the Philippine Government (http://www.mcc.gov/mcc/bm.doc/ph_soag.pdf).
In meeting the twin goals of reducing opportunities for corruption and improving revenue administration, the program provided technical assistance to five agencies: Office of the Ombudsman, the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The program supported the enforcement efforts of these agencies against corruption, tax evasion and smuggling through training of investigators and prosecutors, surveillance and IT equipment, work flow re-engineering, and research and case analyses. Substantial assistance was provided for the nationwide computerization of BIR district offices, specialized IT system for managing human resources of BIR, IT connectivity for improved case management at the Ombudsman and assistance to BOC for drafting a bill for the harmonization of customs and trade laws.
Office of the Ombudsman – More than 400 investigators and prosecutors trained, enforcement manual developed, training and public assistance facilities improved, investigation offices refurbished, surveillance equipment distributed to investigation operatives, established system for mediating public grievances, Ombudsman investigation and prosecution offices internally connected for improved case management and monitoring, 200,000 copies of anticorruption teaching guides distributed to over 44,000 public schools nationwide, founded Center for Asian Integrity for continuous offering of anticorruption training.
Bureau of Internal Revenue – Over 300 staff of the Run after Tax Evaders (RATE) campaign trained in anti-tax evasion enforcement and corruption prevention, enforcement manuals developed, 71 district offices and 12 regional offices connected to automated Integrated Tax System at the headquarters, almost 2,000 staff trained on the use of the automated tax system, 2.2 million backlog tax transactions encoded, centralized/automated software developed for information on 11,500 BIR personnel (records include asset disclosure statements).
Bureau of Customs – About 100 investigators and lawyers of the bureau’s Run after the Smugglers (RATS) campaign were trained in anti-smuggling enforcement, developed an enforcement manual, drafted a legislative bill for customs modernization in line with the Revised Kyoto Convention, set up a centralized database for critical customs transactions for post-entry audit and random inspections, established an internal control unit and enhanced integrity-building strategies.
Revenue Integrity Protection Service – investigators trained and provided with surveillance kits and secure facility for archiving cases, established monitoring system for tracking investigations, investigation manual developed, set up the first regional investigation unit in the Visayas.
Department of Justice – About 300 prosecutors trained, prosecution manual developed, basic IT system and database installed to monitor smuggling and tax evasion cases, records of over 2,000 cases recorded in the case monitoring database, carried out high-level case conferences to solidify investigator-prosecutor cooperation and strengthen prosecution strategy.
The Threshold Program significantly enhanced the enforcement capability and systems of the five agencies for the effective detection and prosecution of corruption, tax evasion and smuggling. Program support contributed to the achievement of the following performance indicators:
- Cumulative conviction rate for cases that underwent trial in the Sandiganbayan (including guilty pleas) increased from the baseline of 33% for Jan-Dec 2005 to 55% for Jan 2005-Mar 2009
- No. of public officials administratively penalized by the Ombudsman increased from 320 officials in 2007 to almost 1,300 officials in 2008 (81% received the gravest sanctions of dismissal from service or suspension)
- Mediated 688 public grievances brought to the Ombudsman’s Office
- 140 corruption complaints filed against BIR, BOC and other officials of the Department of Finance
- 117 complaints filed against tax evaders and 95 complaints against smugglers
- 16.5% increase in corporate income tax returns over the 2005 annual baseline
COMPACT GRANT STATUS
In January 2009, the Philippine Government submitted the final draft of its Compact grant proposal to MCC. MCC is currently reviewing the proposal.
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