Archival against raising real property taxes

CEBU. Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival.
CEBU. Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival.Photo from Archival's Facebook page

CEBU City Councilor Nestor Archival Sr. is ready to oppose the enactment of the revised Real Property Tax (RPT) Code, which is currently under consideration for a second round of deliberation.

This was the minority floor leader’s response to Mayor Michael Rama’s call for the implementation of the updated RPT Code before the end of March 2024, citing its long-awaited status.

“Atong paninguhaon nga atong ma-argue nga dili mapasaka ang atong tax, increase of the real property tax. Kung ingkaso man gani the majority ila jud ipapasar ang maong ordinansa sa pag-increase sa real property tax, ang akong himuon kung naa na ko didto, if I’ll be the mayor and the vice mayor will be Tommy Osmeña ug akong mga kauban full slate sa grupo sa BOPK (Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan), ang first order is to suspend the implementation of the increase of the real property tax,” Archival said during a press conference with former mayor Tomas Osmeña at the Cebu City Sports Club on Monday, March 18.

(I will do my best to argue that our real property tax cannot be raised. In case the majority really passes the ordinance to increase the real property tax, then my first order should I become mayor and Tommy Osmeña, my vice mayor, and together with me is the full BOPK slate, is to suspend the implementation of the increase.)

Archival said that will be his primary agenda if he runs and wins the mayoral race in the 2025 midterm elections in case his opposition is overturned during the second round of the RPT revision deliberations.

The councilor clarified that he has yet to decide on his political plans next year.

He said if the ordinance is enacted, he will ask the council members to amend the tax ordinance and revert to the previous tax rate so the business sector and the general public will not face difficulties in paying taxes.

The Council is deliberating on increasing not the tax rate itself, which will remain the same at three percent, but the fair market values on which the assessed values (the values that will be multiplied by the tax rate) will be based.

No budget deficit

Both Archival and Osmeña said the City Government will not face a budget deficit without the revised fair market values, asserting that the current tax collection system is effective.

Archival said he already discussed the matter with different stakeholders including drivers and religious leaders, adding that almost 95 percent of them expressed that they have yet to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and super typhoon Odette (Rai) and they are not ready for their RPT to increase considerably.

Archival said when he checked the data of the City Treasurer’s Office, the City’s total collection for 2023 amounted to about P8.4 billion.

Asked about the staggered implementation of the revised fair market values, Archival said it wouldn’t make a difference if the new rates are really high.

He said the long-overdue implementation of the revised rates should not be the reason to implement them now.

He pointed out numerous errors in the management of City Hall, citing the P2 billion out of the P8.4 billion collected that was designated for personal services.

He said the remaining P6 billion should have sufficed to run the city efficiently.

Archival said the City should conduct public hearings in every barangay to apprise the public about the new RPT.

He said if existing funds are well managed, there is no need to implement the revised RPT.

He said mismanagement of funds was evident in the City’s budget allocation for shirts in every activity, as well as allocations for stays in luxurious hotels and meals in expensive restaurants.

Osmeña said the City never encountered a budget deficit during his tenure as mayor.

He criticized the Rama administration, saying it is characterized by mismanagement, and lack of control, forecasting and prioritization.

This is “hurting the people,” he said.

Amid the city’s economic growth, Osmeña said he found questionable City Hall’s lack of funds.

He suggested that corruption may be at play due to inefficient collection practices.

Osmeña said the Rama administration’s inability to justify the implementation of the revised RPT only reflects the mismanagement of the City’s finances. / AML


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