BACOLOD City Legal Officer Rayfrando Diaz confirmed Monday that 80 percent of the Real Property Tax (RPT) payers are paying their 2015 obligation using the old RPT rates.

Diaz said there is still a question on the validity of City Ordinance No. 08-14-700, also known as “An ordinance updating the schedule of Market Value of Real Properties in the City of Bacolod” and other provisions relative to RPT administration, which has been declared by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as null and void.

There are 183,000 RPT payers in Bacolod City, he said. Their payments were accepted by the city but there is a risk that once the case will be decided in favor of the city government, all RPT payers who paid under the old rates will be issued warrant of destraints, he added.

“The city will just accept whatever is being paid by the taxpayers. We cannot force them to pay the adjusted rates if they will only pay based on the old rates. But the City Treasurer will just come up with a report and those who pay below the adjusted rates will be issued warrant of destraints and will be classified as delinquents," he said.

For those who pay below the adjusted rates, the city will implement tax collection measures wherein we do the foreclosure destraints against properties that failed to pay the adjusted rates, Diaz explained.

Diaz also denied reports that “angry taxpayers” were allowed to pay using the old rates.

Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA) Negros Chapter president Kenneth Tirthdas and Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association (CREBA) Negros Occidental Chapter president Eduardo Suatengco have claimed that if the taxpayers are angry, they were allowed to pay under the old rates.

There are companies which filed a case against the city as they find the new RPT rates as unjust, oppressive, excessive and confiscatory, they said.

The new rates are not properly studied and assessed, Tirthdas said, thus there were many complaints about the errors and defects of the said ordinance.

"We are not against tax increase if it is done gradually and not abruptly and exorbitant. The city could have spread the implement from 3 to four years and everybody would be willing to pay and the same will benefit both the taxpayers and the City government," Tirthdas said.

Tirthdas and Suatengco were accompanied by their lawyer, Marvin Tanada, during the media interview yesterday.(CNC)