BONTOC, Mtn. Province – The member consumers of the electric service provider in the province have rejected the idea of the electric cooperative paying taxes to the government for the electric posts within the central district of the capital town.
This was known during the conduct of the Annual General Membership Assembly (AGMA) of the Mountain Province Electric Cooperative (MOPRECO) last June 25, 2016 at the Ambasing Elementary School in Sagada.
Former Manager Engr. Jude Domoguen reminded the officers, management and the members of the demand letter from the Provincial Treasury Office and the local government of Bontoc, asking MOPRECO to pay One Million Three Hundred Seventy Nine Thousand Eight Hundred Twenty Five & 53/100 Pesos (PP1,379,825.53) including interests and surcharges as of June 30, 2016.
He asked the body to decide on this matter promptly which the body just did. It was known that the above mentioned amount represents accumulated computation of charges only for electric posts from 1997 to 2016. The tax collectible amounts to P6,210.20 per year.
Discussions were done after which the management was directed to inform the local government of the decision of the members not to pay.
It is to be noted that the pros and cons were ventilated in an earlier report of fellow reporter Alfred Macalling that unless otherwise provided for by exemptions granted to taxpayers, the Local Government Code requires payment of taxes for real estate properties.
The question as to whether the electric posts are real properties is answered by the Provincial Assessor’s Office.
Engr. Randy Tichap, Assistant Provincial Assessor, said that the electric posts which are the subjects of the calculated payments are those confined within the main roads of the capital town.
In the letter of Salvador Castillo, OIC Executive Director of the Bureau of Local Government Finance, to Eulogio Frias, Municipal Assessor of Basista, Pangasinan dated March 25, 2012, it was emphasized that electric posts and transformers are taxable citing a previous en banc decision of the Supreme Court.
He provided the reference materials that cited the decisions of the Supreme Court as in G.R No. 143076 dated June 10, 2003 wherein the high court denied the petition of electric cooperatives for exemption in payment of taxes.
“It is now clear, therefore, that only electric cooperatives duly registered with the Cooperative Development Authority . . . are exempt from the payment of real property taxes. . .” stressed BLGF Memorandum Circular No. 13-2003.
In an interview, Provincial Treasurer Cawed Gamonnac said that the collection will be enforced through proper courses of actions.
Section 174 of the Local Government Code specifies two options as remedy for the collection of taxes, either judicial action through the courts or administrative through the issuance of warrant of levy on properties or auction of properties.
“They should have contested the collection of taxes upon receipt of the notice of collection duly citing their bases” said Gamonnac alluding that the matter had long been issue with their office receiving no protests.
The side of the MOPRECO on the recent pronouncement was not secured as of press time.
By Roger Sacyaten