BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan railed the members of the city council to make as one of their priority legislations the passage of the long pending real property and business tax measures in order to help the local government comply with the competitiveness standards promulgated by the National Competitiveness Commission and other concerned government agencies.
The local chief executive revealed that Baguio City has been in the bottom three of the 143 cities in terms of economic dynamism primarily because of its failure to update its antequated revenue ordinance as the local government never updated its schedule of market values over the past nineteen years and its business taxes for over fifteen years now.
“We could have occupied a higher position in terms of competitiveness among the cities in the country if only we were able to at least update our real property and business taxes which is one of the basis of the evaluators in assessing the compliance of local governments to the stringent competitiveness standards,” Domogan stressed.
Earlier, the Bureau of Local government Finance (BLGF) reminded the city government on the need to update its antequated real property and business tax ordinance in order to conform with the prevailing situation and to allow the local government to improve its competitiveness beneficial to the implementation of more priority development projects and the enhancement of the delivery of basic services to the people.
He said there is nothing wrong in soliciting the positions of the different sectors on the proposed increase in the real property and business taxes being imposed by the city but the members of the city council should decide on the increase based on the outcome of the public hearings and the proposals of concerned government agencies, thus, the increase must be reasonable to strike a balance among the concerns of all sectors.
According to him, it is unfortunate that the increase in taxes was used against him in the recent elections but he has no hand in the said issue because it is the BLGF which had been constantly reminding the city government to update its schedule of market values for real property taxes and the business taxes to conform with the lawful provisions.
Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local government Code of the Philippines, local governments must update their business taxes every three years and their respective schedule of market values every five years.
He cited that now that the political season is over, it is high time for city officials to act on long pending sensitive issues for the greater interest of the people of the city and not to use such issues to advance their own personal and political interests.
The city mayor asserted that taxes are the lifeblood of both the national and local governments and that payments being made by the people are plowed back to them through the implementation of identified priority development projects by the barangays and the city government and the enhancement of basic services to the people.
By Dexter A. See