Philippine Finance Dept to Join Facebook, Twitter

To help go after tax cheats and smugglers, the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) is looking to the public for assistance by signing up for social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.

On Thursday, Finance Sec. Cesar Purisima said the project is in cooperation with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs.

Coming soon: Crowd sourcing leads

"We will be launching it very soon. It is being developed," Purisima said at a press briefing at the Department of Justice, where BIR Commissioner Kim Hacinto-Henares filed a tax evasion complaint against pawnshop chain owner William Villarica.

He said that on the upcoming Facebook page, the public can post photos of luxury cars, plush homes, and other properties of alleged tax evaders and smugglers.

"With their phones that have cameras, they can take photos of a nice car, a nice house, or a nice watch, so we can follow the lead... We will investigate then we'll deliver to the Department of Justice," said Purisima.

Social media and the government

The move comes in the wake of President Benigno Aquino III's announcement in a press briefing last week that his administration will use social media as "feedback mechanisms" to get information directly from the public.

The DOF is not the first Philippine government agency to set up an active social media presence. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court also launched its own Twiter account, @kortesuprema. The account is currently deactivated, however, court administrator and spokeperson Jose Midas Marquez said that it is being fixed. - TJD, GMANews.TV

SOPHIA DEDACE, GMANews.TV

07/15/2010 | 02:46 PM