Friday July 20, 2018

Baguio City Council to discuss land value measure

IN A bid to lower taxes, the City Council of Baguio has asked for more time to review the proposed measure set to spike property valuation in the city.

During the special session Monday, City Council members explored the idea of raising residential taxes to three percent while a four percent hike is up for commercial taxes.

Councilor Elmer Datuin said the taxes have gone down considerably since the move was first made saying the original tax hike was seen to be 35 percent which has gone down to eight percent for commercial areas, while residential areas were initially pegged to spike to 12 percent but now has gone down to six percent.

City assessor Maria Almaya Addawe said an effect of reducing assessment levels given is that there will be areas which will be paying lower taxes.

“At this level, we have areas that will be paying less tax than in 1996,” she said.

City legal officer Melchor Rabanes said there is no legal impediment which will stop the council from approving the measure saying the dilemma is an outcrop of accumulated values which past council’s failed to act and follow local government code.

“What is fair and reasonable will be the collective wisdom of the council,” he adds.

The Council has suggested a staggered payment of the proposed measure with taxpayer paying on the first and second year 75 percent and only on the 3rd year they will pay 100 percent.

“Of course, this is all higher than the 1996 taxes we had, but we need improvement and we have a basis for market values,” Datuin said adding there have been no revisions to the tax code with attempts always shelved by the past five batches of aldermen.

Datuin said there have been 24 public hearings for the revised tax code which gathered stakeholders with their position papers and insights.

Councilor Leandro Yangot also backed the move.

“It was in 1996 when the last adjustment has been made, It is high time we upgrade the delivery of services. This is the lifeblood of the city. It is about time this august body decides,” Yangot said.

Vice Mayor Edison Bilog stepped down from the meeting and said he is against the increase of taxes, inhibiting himself from the meeting for the issue.

A petition is now out opposing the tax hike in the city.