Issue of October 8, 2017
     
NEWS
Benguet
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2017
Panagbenga Flower Festival
 
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City council undecided over amount of tax hike
by Rimaliza A. Opiña with reports from Aileen P. Refuerzo

No doubt the city council agrees that taxes in Baguio should now increase. But even while the City Assessors Office already agreed to adjust the proposed rates to conform to the demand of affected sectors, the august body could not yet agree on how much they would ratify.

In Monday’s special session of the city council, councilors Benny Bomogao and Joel Alangsab said they (the council) could not yet approve the proposed schedule of market values pending their assessment of the revised rates.

Bomogao said the reduced assessment was too low – from 35 percent of the prevailing rate, which was downgraded to eight percent for commercial, and from 12 percent to six percent for residential.

Alangsab said the City Assessors Office should review its assessment especially differences in proposed rates at residential areas, for instance, at Camp Allen, Ilusorio Drive, South Drive, and Legarda Road.

Some councilors, on the other hand, are in favor of adopting the revised rates. “This has been deliberated for so long. Many public hearings have been called. Let us vote on it,” said Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr.

Another compromise suggested is for the increase to be done on a staggered basis.

Councilor Elmer Datuin, chair of the Committee on Ways and Means and Finance, said the increase can be spread out in three years.

The City Assessors Office projects to earn an additional P280 million with the increase with P140M to be allotted to the Special Education Fund and the rest accruing to the coffers of the local government unit and the barangays.

The council agreed to hold another special session tomorrow, Oct. 9, to discuss the rates, along with the suggestions from the City Assessors Office.  

Previously, the City Assessors Office revised the 2014 proposed tax rates.

City Assessor Almaya Addawe said they also decided to pursue only a tax revision on land values and set aside earlier proposals for buildings and improvements after observing that realty taxes covering them are still relevant.

Comparing the 2014 and 2016 schedules, Addawe said the rates in the 2016 schedule of values in both residential, commercial and industrial classifications were generally lower than in the 2014 set-up.

The City Assessors Office also updated the proposed assessment levels for land from the current assessment levels of 12 percent in residential lands to just six percent; 35 percent for commercial and industrial land to just eight percent and 12.5 percent for cultural, scientific and hospital to just five percent.

If the tax increase is approved by the city council, the City Mayor’s Office hopes to implement the tax increase by January 2018.


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