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Philippine Tax Commissioner Resigns

August 19, 2002

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ The Philippine tax commissioner resigned Monday amid a growing budget deficit and complaints about low collections.

Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Rene Banez cited resistance to change within the tax collection system, hinting that corrupt and inept tax collectors were rebelling against an anti-graft campaign within the bureau.

``I strongly believe that a few perpetrators are out to sabotage the reforms by deliberately cutting back on collections during the first half of this year,″ he told a news conference. ``By doing so, they are holding the country hostage in their desire to protect their own personal interests.″

Finance Secretary Jose Isidro Camacho, sitting next to Banez, said he and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had accepted the resignation and offered Banez a job as a tax consultant.

Camacho named Finance Undersecretary Cornelio Gison, a former tax lawyer, as the interim revenue bureau chief while a permanent replacement is sought.

Banez has come under fire in recent months for his bureau’s apparent failure to meet revenue collection targets. The government has largely blamed poor revenue collection for its widening budget deficit.

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