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MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, July 4 (PIA) -- Work on the new structure for the government’s tax collecting office began in earnest at the reclaimed land in barangay Combado here following formal groundbreaking and blessing on a rainy day July 2.

Morales Construction from Ormoc City, bagged the contract for the P 40-Million, 2-storey project with a floor area of 600 square meters out of a total lot area of 1,400 square meters donated by the city government.

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Regional Director Atty. Diosdado Mendoza braved heavy rains to join local BIR personnel and staff led by OIC Susan Golo for the groundbreaking rites -- the rains briefly stopped as if to pave the way for Fr. Garnet Kirong to proceed for the prayer blessings.

Gov. Roger Mercado was also around for the lowering of the capsule, as well as city officials led by Vice-Mayor Ma. Effie Sabandal, City Councilor Antonio Cardoza, Mrs. Epifania Sy, head of the Southern Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a handful of businessmen.

In his message after the ceremonies, Atty. Mendoza acknowledged Maasin City as one of the big contributors in the region’s overall tax take, saying the city “improved its collection.”

He hastened to add, though, that such an improved collection picture “is not enough,” and so he prodded the men and women of BIR Revenue District Office No. 90 to work harder, exert greater effort, even warning them of the strict performance system followed by the agency based more on results and outputs.

“To stay in BIR, be performing, otherwise, out you go,” he told the employees, teasing but in a serious mood that some may not be able to enjoy the comforts of the new building now under construction if they continue to be under-performing.

He called on the private sector, the local government units, directly addressing to Gov. Mercado “to help Maasin City attain its goal.”

Mendoza said that for the entire Region 8 their collection goal for the current year was P 6.1 Billion and as of now they are still 30% short.

In an interview after the luncheon, Mendoza said close monitoring and enforcement of laws were the key strategies to attain the goal, saying that in 2012 Region 8 was 5th nationwide but last year no rate was given because of Yolanda. (AJC/MMP/PIA8-Southern Leyte)