An Exasperating Adventure at the BIR

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Desk employees, mostly aged above 40s, were all in yellow office uniforms. Looking from afar, they looked professional with their busy-acting manners like filing and stamping of papers.

While a number of taxpayers waited in line, if not most, some of the employees who have the power over the slow pace of transactions were doing something beneath the table covered with whatever taxpayer forms.

Whether they were playing Candy Crush or texting a family member who needs them for an emergency (which I don’t think is an acceptable excuse as I learned from my professor in college, Atty. Bong Lopez—we need not to be reached or to respond during emergencies since we aren’t doctors who could save lives or firemen who could stop a burning house, so whatever emergency that is, it can wait) I don’t think they should be at least glancing at their mobile phones during office hours.

I completely understand the strong urge to sneak at the screens waiting to be noticed, but they are government employees. It is a government office. A lot of people waste their time lining up for something that couldn’t be finished in a day, which technically speaking, can actually be finished in a few hours if only these government staff don’t suddenly disappear.

This one employee, seemingly around 60 years of age, has a little dark complexion with a pair of shades in his head, talked a little too hard on people who approached his desk. I heard him said to one poor guy, “Ang dami niyang pipirmahan eh. Bumalik ka na lang bukas.” Then he left so much earlier than the office’s closing time, like 30 minutes early. Not to mention him leaving noticeable a tall cup of Starbucks coffee lying on his desk. And he was using his phone right flaunting above his table.

One employee, whom I lined up for, was not around when I returned to the office from the bank where I was asked to pay for the penalty I acquired. Um, is it acceptable to vanish during office hours?

How can I forget the guard (was that a guard? I don’t really know) who’s supposed to hand out the forms we needed left his chair right in time I had to ask for form 1701. He told me, “Ilalabas ko lang yung kotse sa parking.” I was so pissed I was yelling at him in my head!

Of course it didn’t end there. When I was almost done with all the paper processing shit, this officer whose only signature I needed told me to photocopy the entire form and to return to him so he could sign. Very unfortunately, though, there was a technical issue in the photocopying area, so it took me sure less than 10 minutes. Apparently, it was a little past 5pm when I was able to return and he was gone. Oh my god!

Then I was wondering, is this where the people’s taxes go through? Is this the place where people have to settle the taxes they subtract from the little salary they get after working hard 8 hours a day? Only these people who are supposed to assist and help us with our needs as citizens of this country get paid with the work that makes our lives even worse? How much are they paid? How much of our money go to them? Idk, maybe it’s not enough for them or whatever, but hey, we all work hard to get our part. And all these government staff do is make us wait (for an almost something)???