TWO former Cebu City officials are against the plans of Mayor Michael Rama’s administration to raise tax rates.

The 2022 Revised Omnibus Revenue Code of the City of Cebu is currently pending before the City Council.

Dave Tumulak, former city councilor and mayoralty candidate, said now is not the right time to increase taxes, especially since many continue to struggle from the effects of the coronavirus disease pandemic, super typhoon Odette and the rising inflation.

“Common sense ra man unta. Wala pa gani ta kabangon sa ekonomiya, pun-an pagduot sa kalisod (ang) mga tawo,” he said.

(It should be common sense. Many people have not even recovered from their economic hardships, now we’re adding to their burden.)

Former Cebu City administrator Floro Casas Jr., for his part, said the Office of the Mayor should have weighed things carefully before it pushed the proposed revised tax rates to the council.

“The Executive Department should have completely thought out the effects of an increase to real property taxes before submitting it to the council for approval. No doubt, the increase is excessive,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

The two former officials said they have nothing against an increase in real property tax, but not as big as the requested increase of 7,400 percent for residential and 18,650 percent for commercial.

They said an owner of a 500-square-meter residential property with a market value of P2 million in 2006 has been paying P1,200 in realty tax every year. If the revised rates are approved, the market value of the project will jump to P15 million and the tax due will be P90,000 annually.

The same applies to an owner of a 1,000-square-meter commercial property in Barangay Apas with a market value of P4 million who has been paying P12,000 every year. The market value of the project will skyrocket to P150 million and the tax due will be P2.25 million annually.

During one of the deliberations on increasing the market value and tax on real properties, Councilor Rey Gealon said there is a possibility that an owner who cannot afford to pay the tax will end up becoming a squatter in his own property.

Councilors Franklyn Ong, Nestor Archival, Mary Ann delos Santos and Jerry Guardo had also voiced their concerns on the possible effects of the revised tax rates on residents. (PAC/PJB)