Abella cites BBC report on Pinoy tourism, 23 Feb. 2017

Malacañan on Thursday, February 23, hailed the report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) listing the Philippines as the fifth most welcoming country in the world.

“It cited the Philippines’ going-out culture, which give expats plenty of opportunities to make friends,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

According to Abella, the Department of Tourism (DOT) targets 12 million tourist arrivals by the end of the Duterte administration in 2022.

“Based on our National Tourism Development Plan of 2016-2022, the Duterte administration aims to create up to 6.5 million jobs in the tourism sector in the next 5 years or the equivalent of 14.4 percent share of tourism jobs,” Abella said.

In the same briefing, Abella welcomed the announcement by Japanese multinational company Hitachi to continue its operations in the Philippines.

“Mitsuhiko Shimizu, Hitachi Asia-Philippines branch general manager, stated that the Philippines’ young population is one of the most appealing factors for the investors to do business in the country,” Abella said.

He said the Duterte administration continues to beef up its efforts in attracting more foreign investments and thus create more jobs for Filipinos, particularly by ramping up infrastructure spending and easing the cost of doing business in the Philippines.

BIR eyes sustained improvements in revenue collection

In the same briefing, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Caesar Dulay is convinced that the BIR’s performance will improve further as soon as the agency is granted exemption from the Salary Standardization Law (SSL).

Dulay says dangling a more competitive compensation package once the agency is exempted from SSL will allow the BIR to hire more personnel to fill its vacancies.

“The BIR is highly technical and requires more competent personnel,” he explained.

At present, the BIR “is operating at 50 percent of its approved plantilla,” the Commissioner said, adding that only 9,000 personnel are currently employed with the BIR which has positions for about 21,000 workers.

Dulay further explained that at present, entry level pay for CPAs and lawyers in the BIR are not as competitive as positions in the private sector and other government agencies which has been granted SSL exemptions.

He however said that despite the shortage in personnel, the first six months of the Duterte administration has seen it realized 97 percent or P 1.5 trillion of its revenue target. ###PND