WHILE the efforts of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to run after and file cases against errant taxpayers is a welcome start to boost the country's revenue collection, Senator Francis Escudero said he wants to see this move coupled with institutional changes to effect real collection.

On Thursday, the BIR and BOC announced they will file cases against tax evaders and smugglers every week.

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Escudero said this move should be done side by side with real and actual collection of revenues. Otherwise, the good start might just be consigned as a "cosmetic collection."

"Institutional changes should be made because this will enable them to really collect. Note that it will still take some time before the cases are won in court, that is assuming they will win," Escudero said.

He said the BOC and BIR should review and reassess the current practice of how collection is performed.

"The BIR, in its own study, says 35 percent of potential revenues are lost due to collection loopholes. Thus, plugging collection loopholes in itself can already raise billions of added revenues," Escudero said.

He added that in improving collection efficiency, the country's top revenue collecting agencies should start cleaning its "house" and address the issue of graft and corruption squarely.

Escudero said once these lagging areas in revenue collection are connected, real and actual collection will really take place.

"Then we could translate this to better access to social services like education and health, the ability to fund infrastructure and disaster preparedness," he said. (PR)