With the transfer of the local district office of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to Calbayog City looming in the horizon, Catbalogan City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan made a final effort to keep said possibility at bay with a compelling and urgent appeal to BIR Commissioner Kim Henares.

Through a formal letter dated October 21, 2013 sent to the BIR National Office, the city mayor asked for her time to talk to her and express the sentiments of Catbaloganons regarding the impending transfer of BIR – District Office 87 to Calbayog City. She was then referred by Henares’ secretary to Deputy Commissioner Celia King.

“Ginpaabot ngan ginpaintindi ko kan Deputy Commisioner King kon ano an Catbalogan tikang pa han una nga panahon ngan abot yana. That we are the capital town and district offices have always been in our area since time immemorial. Ginpakita ko kun ano it kapas ngan kun ano it may ada an Catbalogan” said the mayor when asked about what happened during her meeting with King in her office last October 24, 2013 at around 9:00 am.

As the recognized capital of the province, and even way back when Samar Island was not yet divided into three separate provinces, national government agencies and private companies had naturally set up their branches in Catbalogan, making the city a one-stop-shop for various transactions.

This status was further bolstered by the city’s strategic location of being at the center of the province, which provides a convenient travelling distance for those coming from neighbouring municipalities, making it a suitable economic, political, educational and cultural hub of the Province.

These sentiments already echoed the justifications that she gave to Henares through her letter, where she had written that the distance is also a primary factor as to why Mayors from other municipalities, her “trading partners”, are also opposed to the said transfer. “The approved transfer will create a scenario wherein the RDO of the Province will no longer be at the center but at the opposite end or border side of the Province of Samar”, she had written.

It is for these reasons that she concluded that the Revenue District Office 87 will be able to serve a better majority of Samar’s populace if it stayed in Catbalogan City. “Nag-appeal gud ako nga pamatian kita nira kay we are a booming city ngan baby pa an syudad tapos tatanggalon nira an BIR ha aton nga asya an usa ha mga major factors nga nakakapabuhi han aton ekonomiya,” according to her.

With much of the hopes of Catbaloganons resting on her shoulders, the mayor’s efforts seem to have paid off as the Deputy Commissioner saw a room for discussion since some steps have been overlooked before the decision to transfer was made. Headway seems to have been reached through this meeting as on the evening the same day as the meeting, a text brigade spread which said:

“At long last, a glimmer of hope and a golden opportunity for those opposing the transfer of the BIR District Office to Calbayog! Officers from Revenue Region 14 and Revenue District 87 have been summoned to appear at the office of BIR Deputy Commissioner Celia King on November 4 to explain why the BIR District Office is to be relocated in Calbayog City…”

Hopes that were sparked by this text message were dashed just as quickly when it was followed by another informing that another invitation to bid was received recently by the Revenue District Office 87.

Amid accusations that the City Government is being complacent, the lady City Mayor had already issued a press statement through her Facebook page that the City Government is “doing everything in its power” to block the transfer of BIR to another area. She also posted on the same page the contents of a letter previously sent to Commissioner Henares, which led to the fateful meeting with King.

With further developments about the outcome of her meeting still pending, Mayor Uy-Tan made an appeal to her constituents for unity in the face of this current challenge. “Let us keep our hopes up and continue to pray for more blessings. Let us join hands for the challenges ahead as we STEP forward for Catbalogan,” was her final appeal.

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