The Provincial Government of La Union continues to be a leader in innovation for the betterment of local governance. On August 4, 2008 the Province of La Union entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with GTZ, a German public sector organization working for international cooperation towards sustainable development, for the implementation of iTAX, an integrated taxation system that features a fully automated and computerized fiscal management program for local governments.
The MOA coincided with the enactment of the 2008 Revenue Code of La Union and the Province has been reaping the benefits ever since. With the Province of La Union subsidizing the project, the iTAX program has been installed in and deployed to all municipalities of the Province which have made full use of the advantages of the system. Since the implementation of iTAX, LGUs have generated some Php5.1 million in savings from the reduction in paper supply and printing costs of forms for the General Revision. The benefits realized were even more impressive in actual collections as the increase in the real property tax revenue in 2009 from the previous year reached PHP61.44 million or a remarkable 158% improvement of the collection efficiency compared to 2008.
Even with the success of iTAX, the Province of La Union can expect more from GTZ on the continuing computerization and modernization of various local government functions. Still to be completed is the Geographic Information System (GIS) build up of digital maps of all the municipalities in the province which will eventually be connected to iTAX. The GIS data will also be utilized by other Provincial Offices such as the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) and Provincial Engineering Office (PEO) to be applied to their strategic project planning activities.
Another computerization component in development is the Business Permit and License Module which will be implemented for all municipalities that are interested in the program. Another phase considered is the creation of a virtual private network which is envisioned to connect all the municipalities of the Province and advance the flow and exchange of information and communication within the local government units of La Union.
A key project now being considered and conceptualized is the creation of the Province of La Union as an iTAX Regional Cluster Center (IRC). The IRC will cater to the IT training and technical support needs of neighboring provinces in Region I and CAR interested in implementing the iTAX System.
As the world around us is continually connecting towards digital unity, the Province of La Union is more than keeping pace. With its concerted efforts to ensure that La Union is not just left behind but a veritable standard bearer in the field of visionary innovation and modernization, as typified by the iTAX accomplishment, the future of the Province is well in hand.