Taguig plan to raise property taxes hit

By: Administrator  |   12/19/2008 12:57:02 AM

MANILA, Philippines-Two Taguig City councilors on Wednesday assailed their colleagues and Mayor Freddie Tiñga for allegedly railroading the passage of a "flawed" local tax measure aimed at increasing the real property tax by raising the valuation of land in the city by 300 to 800 percent.

In an interview, Councilors Darwin Icay and Arvin Alit said they feared that the ratification of Ordinance Number 113 might result in a capital flight as investors may relocate their businesses to neighboring cities where the tax is much lower.

The new tax measure was approved last Monday by 16 of the 18 councilors, who also filed it barely a month ago, Icay said.

Only Icay and Alit opposed the passage of the ordinance.

"The gains we made by being an investor-friendly city will only be wasted with the passage of this tax measure. Now, we're an investor-deadly city," Icay said.

He warned that a number Taguig residents might lose their jobs as businesses would be adversely affected by the tax hike.

"What's bad for the businesses will definitely be bad for the residents of Taguig," he said.

According to the 24-page ordinance, the fair market value of land within the upscale neighborhood and commercial areas inside the Fort Bonifacio will be increased from P6,000 per square meter to P20,000 per square meter.

Affected by the tax restructuring are properties in the City Center, Bonifacio South, E-Square, Bonifacio North, Bonifacio Triangle, University District, Crescent Park West, Station Square East and NCBD.

Meanwhile, assessment of commercial land along the posh McKinley Hills will be pegged from P2,500 to P16,000 per square meter.

The fair market value in nearby middle-class villages in the area will be raised from P640-P2,000 to P1,000-P6,000 per square meter.

Icay said the increase in the real property tax was not only excessive but abrupt and poorly timed.

He claimed the new tax measure did not pass through the regular process as it was immediately referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by Councilor Allan Paul Cruz, after the first reading.

The proponents of the resolution, he added, conducted only one public hearing, which was also attended by Mayor Tinga.

"I really cannot comprehend why we are rushing to pass the ordinance when the whole world is experiencing economic recession. Local and foreign investors will be hard-hit by this tax increase," he said.

Reached for comment, Cruz brushed off Icay's allegations, saying the claims were "obviously politically motivated."

He maintained that the ordinance, which he said was originally proposed by the City Treasurer's Office, had gone through the normal process.

"Their opposition to this ordinance was simply politically motivated and part of their black propaganda against the administration councilors," he said in a mobile phone interview.

According to Cruz, only owners and developers of posh residences and commercial areas in the former military reservation will be affected by the ordinance.

With the passage of the local bill, he said the city government will earn an additional P50 million from the real property tax annually.

"This will help us a lot in funding additional day care centers, classrooms, hospitals and other basic social services for the growing population of Taguig," he said.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer tried but failed to contact Tinga on his mobile phone.

Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net

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