BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan disclosed the city government remains to be not dependent on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) it is annually receiving from the national government because of its robust economic growth being one of the premier tourist destinations in the north.
Domogan said of the P1.5 billion budget of the city this year, only around P550 million represents the city’s IRA share while the remaining P1 billion has been classified by finance officers as internally generated funds courtesy of the various taxes the city is collecting from its constituents.
“We are proud to mention that the city has zero obligations with financial lending institutions that is why most of the city’s budget is used to implement various development projects and improve the delivery of basic services to the people,” Domogan stressed.
He explained the city could have placed higher than 15th place in the national competitiveness among 136 cites in the country if the city council was able to pass the updating of its real property and business taxes which were not updated for over a decade now.
According to him, the assessment levels of the city’s real property taxes has not been updated for a period of 18 years while its business taxes were not updated for more than 15 years.
Earlier, the Cordillera office of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) rated the city’s performance in local governance as poor because of its failure to update the assessment levels of its real property taxes and business taxes to the detriment of the delivery of basic services and non-implementation of priority projects.
Under the Local Government Code of the Philippines, local governments are mandated to update their real property and business taxes every three years in order to conform with the prevailing trend of the times.
The local chief executive urged the city council to pass the ordinance updating the city’s real property and business taxes so that the local government will be able to generate more funds which could be given back to the people through the increased implementation of more development projects and enhancement of the delivery of basic services to the people.
After having discussed and passed upon the city’s budget, the city mayor encouraged the council to give priority to the passage of the updating of the city’s taxes so that the city will be able to be fiscally independent in the future for the benefit of the greater majority of the people.
Domogan emphasized he does not want the city to be having debts with financial lending institutions because it will be the succeeding officials who will suffer the consequences of obtaining loans for the implementation of the city’s priority projects.
He asserted during his watch, he will not allow the city to be having debts but instead he will try his best to make the city financially stable through the staggered increase in taxes and to improve the delivery of services to the people as a return for the increased revenues of the city government.
He said the city council should not allow the Summer Capital from being left out in the quest for financial readiness in order to continuously provide local residents and visitors with a good city to live in. by Dexter A. See