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  1. Join Date
    Sep 2003
    BIR Comissioner Kim Heneres has been harrasing the medical profession lately...

    The theft of joy | Columnist

    DR. Gatbonton is Editor-in-chief of the Manila Times Publication, HealthNews. She is a board certified internist and endocrinologist, and a past president of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

    To my shock, in the middle of a patient’s visit three weeks ago, I get a frantic knock on the door, from my secretary saying, “The BIR is here and they want to speak to you.”

    A team of four charges in with a very official looking Mission Order, which states they have been ordered to stake out my clinic for TWO months, starting immediately. And from that moment, they have not left me or my patients alone. Every person who comes in and out (whether patient or companion or a med-rep) is automatically asked for a receipt. Even if they are still waiting for me and just need to get something to eat or go to the toilet. They list the names and if an HMO, also get their card numbers to verify that they are really HMO patients. They demanded a receipt for two cloistered nuns from St. Claire’s. My secretary said, “Doctor has never charged the religious,” and gestured to their offering on the bench. How do you issue a receipt for 5 dozen eggs?

    The first week was horrific. Even if you know you have not done anything wrong, I could not sleep for worrying. (People have told me, if they are fishing, then they will find something.) I felt horribly violated, our collective privacy invaded. One patient asked me, “Doctor, am I obliged to give them my name and contact details?” I told her, “I don’t think so; they are investigating me, not you.” And I teared up in front of her. What must they think; my doctor is doing something wrong because the BIR are outside.

    Some of my long standing patients have taken up the cudgels for me, lambasting the BIR people sitting outside my door, inveighing against their intrusion into my life and the inconvenience to theirs as well. A lawyer patient has kindly volunteered his services. I hope I will not need them.

    This is how it feels to be raped. They have not charged me with anything; my accountant has submitted to RDO 32 all the books they require. But why are they making me feel like a criminal? I have to grit my teeth and ride this out; I cannot make them go away. When I went out of town for a weekend course, they showed up and asked my secretary to initial their time records. The biggest irony is that my taxes go toward paying their salaries. As a Filipino citizen, I am paying for them to do their job. My only respite from them is Sunday and this long Undas weekend.

    One in-patient they have been monitoring did not pay me and left a promissory note which my secretary is holding. And they will probably have to wait forever for her to show up, as will I.

    The patient may leave the hospital as long as he has paid his bill, but there is no holding him back, even if he does not pay his doctor a single centavo.

    Patients who do pay, automatically assume a doctor is overcharging. Socialized fee for service is the general practice. For most in-patients, physicians charge depending on the room rate. We honor the senior citizen discount. Do we ask the person who cuts and colors our hair for a break?

    How many times have my clinic mates and I lamented, “Mayaman ako sa promissory notes.” If I could collect all the money owed me through the years now that would be a sizeable amount to tax. But I do not run after patients who do not pay. The Patient’s Bill of Rights notwithstanding, what about the physician’s right to be paid for services rendered? We tell ourselves: We’re not in this for the money. But the reality is, we cannot eat promissory notes for dinner, nor will it put gas in my car or pay for our children’s education. By experience, less than 1 in 10 will come back and settle the balance. The rest we chalk up to heaven, experience and good karma, trusting that what goes around, comes around.

    So in spite of this service and goodwill we doctors extend to our Filipino kababayans, this is how our BIR treats us. In yesterday’s Philippine Star headline, the BIR boasted that they had filed charges against 75 tax evaders to date, and trumpeted the name of a colleague of mine who did not issue a receipt to a poseur patient and has now been charged as a criminal at the DOJ. What did they have to do that for? Why isn’t there a first offense, second offense policy? Why not spare the physician the humiliation?

    Down with the BIR harassment of Filipino physicians treating Filipino patients faithfully, selflessly and well!

  2. Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Monseratto View Post
    BIR Comissioner Kim Heneres has been harrasing the medical profession lately...

    The theft of joy | Columnist
    maybe they should start with lucio tan first.

  3. Join Date
    May 2004
    have you been to banawe lately. one supplier hinabol nya pa yung client na bibigyan nya resibo at mahirap na raw mapenalty.

  4. Join Date
    Sep 2003
    they should go to divisoria mall & baclaran also.
    those chinese traders who ply their tardes there, don't issue receipts.

    binibigay ba naman, 1/4 sheet of paper lang, at doon nakalagay ang amount ng pinamili mo.

  5. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    I don't see anything wrong here, we all know doctors don't give receipt when patients don't ask for it, meron pa nga ako doctor napuntahan before iba prof fee pag meron OR sa wala...

    Bayaran nila ng tama taxes nila, huwag na sila kumuha ng public sympathy dahil alam ng mga Tao Ang totoo.

  6. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Well, they have to start somewhere but i honestly think they are starting at the wrong place by harassing these professionals. They should look deeper into businesses and their own BIR people who have been legally extorting like hell.

    * Lucio Tan, if I recall there's even a case where the government ended up owing him money.

  7. Join Date
    Jan 2009
    I myself can't remember the last time any of our doctors ever handed out a receipt. I know that I'm partly at fault for not asking for them but my rationale here is that, I very much hold them in high regard as they obviously have a very important job. Also, handing out receipts should be something that's part of the transaction routine. As with many merchants, I sometimes have this notion that if they can get away with not giving you a receipt, a good majority will.

    Not meaning to condone the practices of the BIR agents, but I think they could've done it with more finesse and professional courtesy.

  8. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Ako ngayon kahit sa doctors humihingi na... Have you noticed wala na nagtatanong sa gas stations na kung kailagan pa resibo everytime magbayad na, kasi automated na yun invoice nila.

  9. Join Date
    Feb 2007
    I heard she grew up in Binondo, she should start there.

  10. Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by shadow View Post
    I don't see anything wrong here, we all know doctors don't give receipt when patients don't ask for it, meron pa nga ako doctor napuntahan before iba prof fee pag meron OR sa wala...

    Bayaran nila ng tama taxes nila, huwag na sila kumuha ng public sympathy dahil alam ng mga Tao Ang totoo.
    So honest doctors can't complain?

    I know there are some who don't issue receipts, but doctors are by-and-large a giving lot. What the doctor who wrote that said was true... if they collected on all their IOUs, they'd be filthy rich... but they don't.

    My aunt has been a cardiologist for over twenty years. There's no dobut she gets paid a lot, but she works hard for her money. Clinics in four different hospitals, and a day that starts at 4am (first clinic opens at 7am, forty kilometers away) and ends at midnight, when she finishes reviewing the ECGs and ultrasounds she brings home. At odd times, she will be called to the emergency room.

    She charges what people can pay, and on some check-ups, she doesn't charge regular clients, as courtesy, no matter how rich or poor they are.

    In our hospital, it's easy to talk to the doctors to get them to lower their professional fee or accept an IOU. I don't get charged by most of my doctors because they're either family, friends or co-workers. But I know that they don't charge some of their patients, either, when those patients are indigents. Shouldn't they get tax breaks for that? They don't, obviously.

    It's good that the BIR is trying to regulate taxes... but do their agents stake out fast food joints 24-7? Do they do the same to machine shops or auto supplies? This is discrimination, pure and simple. To make someone feel like a criminal with up-front surveillance and harrassment with no just cause is crual and unusual punishment.


    BESIDES, it's an absolute waste of manpower. Much easier to catch tax evaders by setting up a sting operation at a different clinic every week. Send in a ringer (a fake patient... or a real patient, but one who's undercover) to observe if the secretary gives out receipts to the patient, then ask the doctor if they can give a discount if the patient doesn't ask for a receipt.

    Simple. Cheap. Will catch you more evaders than simply staking out one office for two months. Obviously the doctor will issue receipts for every patient while your there, idiots.

    Ang pagbalik ng comeback...

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The theft of joy