BAGUIO CITY – The burden of the city government in providing all the basic amenities for local residents and tourists will be eased once the city council will pass the required ordinance mandating the imposition of sales tax in hotels and restaurants for their services rendered during the peak tourism season.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said some localities not only in the country but also in the different parts of the global village are charging sales tax on tourism services which are in turn brought back to the local residents and visitors through improved tourism facilities such as comfort rooms, the efficient and effective collection of garbage among others.
“We must allow our tourists to also contribute in the delivery of basic services to them and our people through the imposition of sales tax in tourism-related establishments to allow the local government to cope with the rapidly increasing expenditures on the maintenance of public places and providing them basic amenities,” Domogan stressed.
Since assuming his post as the local chief executive in July 2010, Mayor Domogan had been prodding the city council to pass the ordinance mandating the imposition of at least 2 percent sales tax to the services provided by tourism-related establishments and that the accumulated funds will be used to improve the services of the city government to the people, particularly in attending to the basic services due to the people of the city.
However, the city council was not able to consider the passage of the measure because of the fear of most councilors that imposing added burden to the people in terms of more taxes will affect their political career once they will aspire for higher positions or seek re-election.
Domogan claimed tourists must also be made to at least contribute in the growing expenses of the local government in providing their basic needs such as good toilets, clean surroundings through the absence of garbage around, better situation of public places among others.
Of the collection of sales tax would be applicable in other places, the city mayor underscored the city also needs such added tax in order to significantly improve the delivery of basic services to the people and sustain the city’s identity as one of the premier tourist destinations in the country.
According to him, while it is true that the government has to provide basic services to the people, it is also the obligation of the people to pay the necessary fees to the concerned government agencies and local governments in exchange for a safe, secured, clean and descent place to visit and roam around in the future.
Domogan is optimistic that members of the city council will be able to open their minds about the matter and consider the request of passing a sales tax ordinance for the city which will only be applicable in tourism-related establishments and will be implemented during the peak tourism season from October to June and considering the fact that the improved services and facilities will be beneficial to the greater majority of the public.
By Dexter A. See