BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance earmarking the amount equivalent to one percent of collected annual realty and business taxes in the city as socialized housing and micro-enterprise development funds.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Elaine D. Sembrano stated that it shall be a policy of the local government to improve the lives of its people, particularly the socio-economically challenged, by promoting and guaranteeing the sustainability of housing and livelihood programs made accessible to all, especially the urban poor as well as micro and small entrepreneurs.
Under the proposed ordinance, the one percent allocation contained in the provisions of the measure shall be used exclusively for socialized housing to qualified beneficiaries as certified by the City Planning and Development Office and to fund livelihood development programs for the same beneficiaries including those classified as barangay micro-business enterprises as defined by the Barangay Micro-business Enterprises Act of 2002.
The ordinance added that the City Treasurer’s Office, upon approval of the proposed local legislative measure, shall create a special account for the purpose of serving as the account for the purpose and the subsequent disbursement of the same shall be upon the approval of the City Council of the appropriate housing or micro-enterprise development plan or program.
The ordinance stipulated that evaluation and recommendation for approval by the local legislative body of any project utilizing the fund that was earmarked for the purpose and the implementation, monitoring and supervision of the same, shall be the responsibility of the City Planning and Development Office for housing initiatives and the City Social Welfare and Development Office for micro-enterprise development, respectively.
Under the proposed ordinance, no new or additional realty or business tax shall be levied for the reason of the implementation of the pertinent provisions of the local legislative measure unless provided by the existing local tax ordinance.
Republic Act (RA) 7160, or the Local Government Code of the Philippines, authorizes the local governments to levy and collect certain taxes and allocate the same for the general welfare of its people and in consonance to other laws, rules and regulations.
Further, the local government is also mandated to comply with certain government policies and programs on housing, business development and other government agenda geared towards the improvement of the socio-economic standing of the people living in urban and rural areas in the country.
The ordinance added the increased allocation of funds both for socialized housing and micro-business enterprises will help provide assistance to the people belonging to the marginalized sectors to uplift the status of their living condition.
The local government is embarking on the implementation of sustainable socialized housing and micro-enterprise programs to help the chances of residents to own descent housing facilities and to have sustainable sources of livelihood for them to improve their living status in the future.
The ordinance was referred to the Committee on Appropriations and Finance for study and recommendation before it will be calendared for second and third readings.
By Dexter A. See