Finance Dept to join Facebook, Twitter

Finance Dept to join Facebook, Twitter

To help go after tax cheats and smugglers, the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) is looking to the public for assistance by signing up for social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.

On Thursday, Finance Sec. Cesar Purisima said the project is in cooperation with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs.

Coming soon: crowdsourcing leads

“We will be launching it very soon. It is being developed,” Purisima said at a press briefing at the Department of Justice, where BIR Commissioner Kim Hacinto-Henares filed a tax evasion complaint against pawnshop chain owner William Villarica.

He said that on the upcoming Facebook page, the public can post photos of luxury cars, plush homes, and other properties of alleged tax evaders and smugglers.

“With their phones that have cameras, they can take photos of a nice car, a nice house, or a nice watch, so we can follow the lead… We will investigate then we’ll deliver to the Department of Justice,” said Purisima.

Social media and the government

The move comes in the wake of President Benigno Aquino III’s announcement in a press briefing last week that his administration will use social media as “feedback mechanisms” to get information directly from the public.

The DOF is not the first Philippine government agency to set up an active social media presence. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court also launched its own Twiter account, @kortesuprema. The account is currently deactivated, however, court administrator and spokeperson Jose Midas Marquez said that it is being fixed. – TJD, GMANews.TV

NP claims Noynoy forming a 'GMA Cabinet'

NP claims Noynoy forming a ‘GMA Cabinet’

MANILA, Philippines – The Nacionalista Party (NP) on Saturday scored Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr. for allegedly forming a Cabinet way ahead of the May 10 automated elections.

“Aquino is clearly jumping too soon,” the NP said in a statement, hinting that Aquino is being overconfident that he will win the presidential race.

Aquino has slowly regained his wide lead over the NP standard-bearer Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. in the presidential survey. The latest Pulse Asia survey showed Aquino gaining a double-digit margin from his closest rival.

“This is proof that Aquino is already thinking of holding the highest position in the land when the election is still a month away. How can he do this when he has yet to prove that he will win the election?” the NP said. “And worst is that the Aquino presidency will be a virtual Arroyo administration with a GMA rehash Cabinet.”

Without naming its source, the NP said that among the future appointees of Aquino is Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Undersecretary Thomson Lantion.

It said Lantion, a former police official who is close to President Arroyo’s current executive secretary, Leandro Mendoza, will be appointed by Aquino as DOTC secretary.

The NP claimed that the other future Aquino appointees are re-electionist Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza as head of the Department of Agrarian Reform; North Cotabato Vice Gov. Emmanuel Piñol as secretary the Department of Energy; Avelino “Nonong” Cruz as National Defense chief; former Education Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad as Secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways; former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman as Department of Environment and Natural Resources head; Ed Gana as Department of agriculture chief;

Former Economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto, now running for senator under the Liberal Party as head of the Department of Finance; Makati Business Club’s Ramon del Rosario as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government; Leah Navarro of the Black and White Movement as Presidential Management Staff chief; and former Pangasinan governor Victor Agbayani as secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry.

The NP predicted that if Aquino wins, they expect him to appoint relatives and friends to his future Cabinet.