THE City Council passed an ordinance providing additional incentives to owners of houses, buildings and structures declared or to be declared a historical or heritage site by the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council (ICCHCC).

In last Wednesday's session, Councilor Nielex Tupas, chairman of the committee on tourism, said the new ordinance will provide an incentive of one year exemption from business taxes but not exceeding three years for every 10 years of existence of historical or heritage site in the identified heritage zone.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

For those putting up new business in the declared heritage zone with a capitalization of at least one million pesos, the incentive will be 25 percent exemption on business taxes.

For the preservation, reconstruction and restoration of legacy and heritage buildings within or outside the heritage zone, the owner shall be granted 50 percent tax incentive on annual real property taxes on both land and structure where it is situated, provided that the whole land area forms part of the history as certified by the ICCHCC.

The old ordinance, however, only provides incentives in the form of exemption from business taxes to businesses located in the identified heritage zone.

Similarly, the city treasurer’s office has submitted a notice that the reduction of income from the collection of real property taxes of about P452,000 but given as exemption to the historical and heritage sites, is a negligible amount and will not affect the real property tax collection in 2010.

Tupas said a letter from city treasurer Katherine Tingzon showed the reduction of real property tax income will not also affect the one percent share given to the special education fund.

The ICCHCC had already declared 26 structures mostly in the central business district here as heritage sites aging from 50 years old and above, on top of several structures earlier declared by the National Historical Institute as heritage and historical sites.

Tupas said the City Government recognizes the value and cultural significance of these structures, its preservation for a better understanding of the past, enrichment of the present and to pass over to the future generations. (Lydia C. Pendon)