Baguio Treasury backs environment fee imposition

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BAGUIO CITY – The City Treasury Office expressed support to the proposed ordinance mandating the collection of environmental fee and environmental users charge from people visiting parks and other public places in the different parts of the city to help in the overall efforts to generate additional income.

However, City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias pointed out the need for the local legislative body or the proponents of such revenue generating measure to provide the measures on how to ensure that the fees will be effectively and efficiently collected from visitors patronizing the use of parks and staying overnight in accommodation facilities.

He said it is difficult to rely on the management of accommodation facilities in the collection of the aforesaid fees because the even the collection of occupancy taxes from the said establishments that relies on the declaration of the establishment owners is difficulties.

The city treasurer claimed there should be a reliable system to be put in place by the City Council to ensure that the appropriate fees collected from the visitors are properly remitted to the city government

Earlier, the City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance charging environmental fees for guest houses, tourist hotels, inns, transient or lodging houses in the city.

The ordinance authored by Councilors Benny Bomogao, Joel Alangsab and Arthur Alad-iw states that the prescribed environmental fees shall be imposed on owners, proprietors and clients of hotels, inns, transient or lodging houses and persons visiting parks or tourist attractions managed and maintained by the local government. For owners or proprietors of hotels, inns, transient or lodging houses shall pay annual environmental fees, P1,000 for those 5 rooms and below, P2,000 for those not more than 10 rooms, P5,000 for those not more than 20 rooms, P6,000 for those not more than 30 rooms, P10,000 for those not more than 50 rooms and P20,000 for those more than 50 rooms.

The ordinance stipulates that the environmental fees charged shall be paid upon renewal of business permits or anytime during the fiscal year.

On the other hand, the City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance imposing an environmental user’s fee in the city and prescribing penalties for violations of the same and for other related purposes.

The ordinance authored by Councilors Maria Mylen Victoria G. Yaranon and Joel Alangsab states it is a declared policy of the city government to promote the protection and conservation of natural resources pursuant to exiting Philippine environmental laws and assure the wise utilization and management on a sustainable basis of the city’s natural resources with the necessity of maintaining a sound ecological balance and enhancing the environment.

Cabarrubias welcomed the initial approval of the important revenue generating proposals but the implementation of the same should not be lodged with their office because the city treasury office lacks the sufficient number of personnel to do so.

By Dexter See