BAGUIO CITY – The proposed increase in real property and business taxes in the city is considered to be reasonable compared to the supposed increases which should have been enforced by the city government pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government Code of the Philippines.
Under existing laws, the assessment levels of real properties must be adjusted every five years while business taxes must be adjusted to reasonable levels within three years but the local government never increased its real property taxes for over 18 years and business taxes for at least 15 years.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan cited city officials using the tax hike as their political vehicle are doing dis-service to the people of the city instead of helping the city significantly improve the services of the local government to the populace.
“We should not look into the proposed increase in terms of percentage but we should look into the actual amounts for us to better appreciate the clear intention of the city not to burden the people on excessive taxes,” Domogan stressed.
For example, the P20 per household garbage fee is being proposed to be increased to P40 which is not that excessive compared to the original plan of P100 per household.
He disclosed the city government is only able to collect at the most P25 million from religious taxpayers annually which is way below the over P100 million being spent by the local government to effectively and efficiently address the city’s garbage disposal problem. If the garbage fee will be doubled, then the city will only be able to collect a maximum of P50 million which is still way below the garbage disposal expenses.
In the market area, he cited the smallest amount being paid by a stallholder is P120 and if the same will be increased by 500 percent, it would only become P720 which is still much lower than the P1,000 monthly rental being paid by vendors at the newly rehabilitated Blocks III and IV.
Domogan also exposed that most enterprising leaseholders at the city public market are sub-leasing their stalls by at least P20,000 to P30,000 per month which means that such vendors are the ones earning substantial income at the expense of the property of the local government.
In terms of sewerage fee which was fixed by the city government only in 2002, the city government is proposing to increase the same to P40 which has been described as reasonable compared to their claim that such increases are not actually justified by the members of the city’s local finance committee.
Earlier, the Cordillera office of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF-CAR) branded the city government as negligent in fiscal management because of its failure to adjust its tax levels pursuant to the prescribed period enshrined in the Local government code, thus, its ranking remains to be poor in terms of the fiscal administration which is one of the major criteria in the judging of the top performing local governments in the country.
The local chief executive appealed to the public to understand and comprehend the local government’s plan to increase taxes to reasonable levels considering that the generated funds will in turn be plowed back to the people through improved delivery of basic services and increased priority development projects for the city in the future. By Dexter A. See