THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental is looking to increase the fair market value of properties in the province.
Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., chairman of Provincial Board committee on appropriations, budget, finance, ways and means, said the law stated that the local government should update the fair market value of properties – agricultural, urban and industrial – every three years.
The last time it was updated was in 2014, he said.
The proposed fair market assessment was tackled in a meeting Wednesday with the Provincial Assessor’s Office at the Vice Governor’s conference room.
Escalante said the target increase is about seven to eight percent.
The board member said the properties have many reclassifications, and that “the value of properties has increased by seven to eight percent.”
With the updated fair market value, the land tax is also expected to increase, he added.
“There are many subdivisions and plenty of developers who are buying properties here in Negros. And one of the basis of choosing the property is the fair market value, which is based on the tax ordinance of the province,” Escalante explained.
He added: “So if the fair market value is lower, you can’t demand a better price as the buyer looks into the fair market value as basis.”
Escalante said they are looking to hold the public hearing on the first week of October.
He said they are expecting to implement the updated fair market value by January next year.
On the property acquired by the provincial government in Hinobaan town for the proposed industrial zone supposedly covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp), Escalante said the municipal government has a resolution reclassifying the land into industrial zone which is now pending at the Provincial Board.
He said the measure is for the concurrence of Provincial Board.
“We asked the assessor, and he explained that when you reclassify the land, you are actually helping the residents,” Escalante said.
Based on the fair market value, the best agricultural land is worth P400,000 per hectare, but if it’s industrial, it is worth P1,000 per square meter, he said.
“You are actually giving the owner a favor,” he added.
For his part, Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said he thinks that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the provincial government are in talks on how to resolve the issue.
Provincial Agrarian Reform program officer II Lucrecia Taberna had earlier confirmed that the property is covered by the land reform program.
The Provincial Government had expropriated the property of the defunct Insular Lumber Company to make way for the construction of a Japanese shipbuilding facility.
Lacson said: “I understand the province is looking for a win-win solution. I hope we do find a win-win solution.”
The SP has not decided yet on what action to take regarding the review on the resolution of Hinobaan, the vice governor said.