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Cebu City councilor urges constituents to take part in public discussions for proposed revised omnibus revenue code

By: Wenilyn Sabalo - CDN Digital | November 22,2022 - 02:28 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, the majority floor leader, called on all Cebu City constituents to actively participate in the ongoing public hearing on the ordinance that would enact the “2022 Revised Omnibus Revenue Code of the City of Cebu.”

“I am just encouraging all constituents to please send all your comments and opposition para g’yod ni maklaro g’yod sa mga tawo ug maklaro sad sa administration ni Mayor Rama nga ni oppose ang mga tawo,” the councilor said during the public hearing on Monday, November 21, 2022.

Pesquera made this pronouncement after the councilors, particularly, Councilor Noel Wenceslao, head of the council’s budget and finance committee, shared with Atty. Jerone Castillo, the mayor’s special assistant on fiscal reforms, the apprehensions of the council members on the effects of the proposed tax rates and how it will be implemented.

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

Castillo appeared before the council on Monday as part of ongoing discussions on the “2022 Revised Omnibus Revenue Code of the City of Cebu.”

He emphasized that the executive department extended due diligence before it submitted its proposal to the legislative department.

“On our end, we conducted our work. We extended our due diligence. We listened to them. We required them to submit a position paper, nag meeting pa jud ta. Wa man ni nakit-an nga area,” he said.

Pesquera then asked Castillo if the executive department also consulted farmers apart from the businessmen, especially on the issue of raising real property taxes.

The councilor also asked Castillo if the farmers were able to express their sentiments that they are in favor of the specifics of the proposed tax revision.

No direct objetction

Castillo responded by saying they consulted all parties, the business sector, the developers, and the barangays. 

He said that the barangays were optimistic because they understand that with the proposed revision in the tax code, they get 30 percent of the 2/3 of the real property taxes, which means they would not anymore need to request additional funding from the city to implement their programs.

“They did not register their direct objection. There was none. We discussed everything even before we submitted this to the plenary…The business sector, the barangays, the developers, tanan ipatawag na, submit your position paper so that we will know initially on the level sa executive. Mao na amo gibuhat,” he said.

Pesquera, however, was not satisfied and proceeded to ask Castillo for the list of attendance of those barangays who attended the consultation.

“Do you have a record that they agreed? Who were in attendance, because we will send it to their barangays, and then if this will be approved, then we will let the people there (know) that their barangay captains agreed for the increase in taxes,” she said.

Castillo said as part of extending due diligence, they also looked into the rates, and the administrative feasibility of the taxation of other highly urbanized cities, including Makati, Quezon, and Manila, which he said, have the same economic strength as Cebu City.

Pesquera, however, asked Castillo if they also took into consideration the differences in the income of those in Makati City and here in Cebu City, as she emphasized that, unlike Makati, 70 percent of the land mass of the city is mountainous.

“Wala man sad ta moingon nga di ta mo submit sa tingog. This is a deliberative process, but we are telling you on our end that before we did these things we conducted due diligence because it is incumbent upon the executive to do his homework before he submits his legislation,” Castillo responded.

‘Let us be realists’

Meanwhile, Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos has asked the City Treasurer’s Office and the City Assessor’s Office for a collection report of the city from 2021 up to 2022.

She emphasized that if the city’s tax collection strategy is a failure, it is not an assurance that even with the supposedly approved new tax rates, the city can collect 100 percent of its target collection for 2023.

“I would like to say that it is a very noble dream for Mayor Rama to come up with Singapore-like. But let us be realists on the other hand. The only way for you to do that is to impose taxes so that all your programs and projects can be implemented,” she said.

“But look at the bigger picture. Number one, we just had a two and a half years of pandemic. After that, we had Odette. Up to now, we are still on the recovery stage. Gani, makit-an nimo nga nagkalisod with the inflation in all this and that,” she added. 


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TAGS: Cebu city news, Cebu City politics

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