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Proposed revised tax rates ‘excessive’ and ‘oppressive’ – Wenceslao

By: Wenilyn B. Sabalo - CDNDigital Multimedia Reporter | November 22,2022 - 01:04 PM

Photo of the Cebu City Hall legislative building

The Cebu City Hall. | CDN Digital file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — While he supports Mayor Michael Rama’s plan to make Cebu City Singapore-like, Councilor Noel Wenceslao expressed his and the other councilors’ concerns on the tax rate revision ordinance, which is currently the subject of an ongoing public hearing.

Councilor Noel Wenceslao, chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee of the City Council, said most of his colleagues in the City Council are apprehensive of the impact of the proposal to already revise the city’s tax rates, especially its real property taxes.

“Ang problema is more of the real property tax. Although some are understandable. Number 1, because the fair market value when we made the last revision (in 2006), and the fair market value now, taas kaayo og gap. That is why there is also a very big, ni soar jud maayo ang pagsaka sa Real Property Tax,” Wenceslao said.

“And I don’t think that it is acceptable, especially to our businessmen. Kay murag it’s too excessive and oppressive for them, especially nga in Salinas Drive, we made a comparison presently, and they are paying P18,000 but then when we approve our proposed ordinance, it will be one million. Then, another one in IT Park, presently, they are paying P22,000, but if we will approve our proposed ordinance, it will be P2.25 million. There are certain areas, which for us, is very excessive and oppressive increase,” he added.

The budget committee chairman made the comment after Atty. Jerone Castillo, Rama’s special assistant to the mayor on fiscal reforms, appeared before the council during the third public hearing on Monday, November 21, 2022.

READ: Tax revisions pushed to fund Cebu City’s P50B budget in 2023

Castillo told the legislators that he will refer the concerns that they raised during the public hearing to Mayor Rama.

He also added that in their last discussion with businessmen, the concern that they raised was not really on the planned revision of tax rates but on the progression of its implementation.

“Had I known nga naa diay objection sa rates, I would have referred also to Mayor Mike. Because we conducted man due diligence. Gipatawag man sad ni sila. Unya, at that time, particularly, the Chamber (Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industries), wala man ni object sa rates. Ang gihangyo, kung pwede dili lang kuno i-one time ang implementation. So, I have to bring this back to Mayor Mike because that was not the position of the Chamber then,” Castillo said.

Earlier, the executive department submitted to legislators the “2022 Revised Omnibus Revenue Code of the City of Cebu.”

The ordinance enacting the “2022 Revised Omnibus Revenue Code of the City of Cebu Revising the Real Property Tax Code for the taxing jurisdiction of the City of Cebu and all subsequent amendments thereto, further prescribing new rates of business taxes, permit fees, and charges for services rendered by the City of Cebu and for other purposes,” is seen to help raise funds needed to implement the city’s programs.

The budget committee, which Wenceslao heads, is now conducting series of consultations to hear what others have to say on the proposed measure.

Just like Wenceslao, Councilor Rey Gealon shared that he understands that the need to raise of tax rates is mandated by law, but he is opposed to the one time imposition of any tax increases.

He said that Councilors Franklyn Ong, Nestor Archival, Mary Ann delos Santos, and Jerry Guardo also share the same concern.

In a position paper which he prepared, Gealon even referred to it as “unjust.” Under the present circumstance, Gealon said “it is not morally right and fair to increase the tax rates when many who suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic have yet to recover especially those in the business sector.”

He also said that it will be “excessive” if the increase is implemented one-time since this will covered several years when the supposed adjustments should have been made.

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