TACLOBAN CITY, July 27 (PNA) –- Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla lauded the Aquino administration for more efficient collection of national taxes, resulting to higher internal revenue allotment (IRA) share for local government units (LGUs).

Petilla noted higher tax collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the past five years largely due to government’s intensified drive to Run After the Tax Evaders (RATE).

“LGUs are benefiting from more efficient revenue generation program through higher IRA share, which raises our capacity to deliver basic services,” Petilla said.

This year, the Leyte provincial government got an IRA share of PHP1.59 billion or more than PHP400 million higher than the allotment in 2010. In the past five years, the IRA share for Leyte went up by about PHP100 million annually.

The country’s strong economy and improved tax collection has been benefiting local government units regardless if the governors and mayors are affiliated with the ruling Liberal Party, according to Petilla.

Higher revenues allowed LGUs to carry out more programs aligned to the five priority areas of the Aquino government – good governance, poverty reduction, sustained economic growth, lasting peace and the rule of law, and environment and climate change adaptation.

The BIR collected PHP1.334 trillion in taxes last year, 9.64 percent higher from PHP1.217 trillion in 2013. This year, the target is to generate PHP1.67 trillion in revenues.

The government continues to aggressively plug tax collection loopholes and bring tax evaders to justice. As of early this month, the BIR has filed a total of 377 cases with the Department of Justice under the RATE program. (PNA)