The Philippine Tax Academy (PTA) will start offering an off-campus specialized study program on public finance along with online courses in 2019, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said this specialized post-graduate course is open to personnel of the DOF, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF).
PTA will offer this study program in partnership with the Graduate School of the University of the Philippines campus in Los Baños, Laguna (UPLB), said Beltran.
To make PTA courses available to more employees seeking additional knowledge and training, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III instructed Beltran to film the lectures and upload these online and for the academy to offer online courses as well.
“At some point, we may have a film studio. Can we use that to film the lecturers, so that we can use these lectures in remote areas?” Dominguez stressed after Beltran gave updates about the PTA during a recent DOF Executive Committee (ExeCom) meeting. “I want to use not only person-to-person discussions but also online courses.”
Beltran said this setup would be cheaper than organizing courses that require the physical presence of employees and would make the PTA courses available to all personnel of the DOF and its attached agencies nationwide.
Dominguez directed Beltran to ensure that the PTA would be staffed with a lean, but “digitally enabled” workforce and would offer online courses when the Academy gets its budget next year.
“I want a small staff, I want them to be digitally enabled,” Dominguez said.
Earlier, Beltran reported to Dominguez that the PTA plan is for DOF senior officials to join the teaching team as adjunct professors.
The PTA will conduct the pre-requisite courses on journal writing skills and other minor courses, Beltran said. The PTA’s program, curriculum and syllabus were developed based on ASEAN University Network Standards.
According to Beltran, the PTA has also submitted to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) its three-year Strategic Information Plan, which includes setting up an information system for the Academy to facilitate knowledge sharing.
During PTA’s formal launch in February, Dominguez said this institution, which is the first of its kind in the country, will not only provide the country’s revenue collectors and administrators with continuing training on best practices to sharpen their competitiveness but will also aim to heighten their commitment to their profession and raise their ethical standards.
Dominguez said that on the watch of President Duterte, the DOF has taken a “great leap forward” in professionalizing revenue agencies by putting flesh to the PTA eight years after it was envisioned under Republic Act (RA) No. 10143.
Under RA 10143, the PTA “shall serve as a learning institution for tax collectors and administrators of the government and selected applicants from the private sector.”
This law provides that, “All existing officials and personnel of the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), the BOC (Bureau of Customs) and the BLGF shall be required to undergo the re-tooling and enhancement seminars and training programs to be conducted by the Philippine Tax Academy.”
It also requires “all applicants to the said bureaus” “to pass the basic courses before they can be hired whether on contractual or permanent status.”