CLO: Ordinance required for 93-1 residents’ tax exemption request

Cebu City Hall.
Cebu City Hall.File photo

RESIDENTS occupying the controversial 93-1 lots may need to wait for quite some time before receiving a response to their request for exemption from paying real property tax (RPT).

This comes after the Cebu City Legal Office (CLO) stated in a legal opinion submitted to the City Council that local government units may only grant tax exemptions through ordinances.

Members of the 93-1 Movement submitted a petition to the Cebu City Mayor’s Office through the Council last April, requesting an exemption in the payment of RPT.

The 93-1 residents are those living in lots covered by Ordinance 93-1, passed in the Provincial Board in 1993, which allowed Cebu City residents to own the provincial lots they were occupying after paying the full amortization on the property within two years.

The CLO referred to the Local Government Code of 1991, which states that “local government units may, through ordinance duly approved, grant exemptions, incentives, or reliefs under such terms and conditions as they may deem necessary.”

“With the clear wordings of the aforecited law, through ordinances by the Sanggunian Panlungsod of Cebu City tax exemptions may be granted. As such this question is best addressed to the wisdom of our local legislature,” the CLO said in its legal opinion submitted to the Council on June 19, 2024.

The legal opinion was penned by its handling lawyer Arthcris Cuadra and approved by CLO head Carlo Vincent Gimena.

As of the moment, there is no draft measure yet pending in the city council for the exemption of those beneficiaries of 93-1 lots.

The CLO said the RPT is a good source of revenue, not only for Cebu City but also for other LGUs.

The CLO stated that currently, certain real properties are exempt from the imposition of RPT. These include registered cooperatives, machinery used for pollution control and environmental protection, properties actually, directly, and exclusively used for religious, charitable, or educational purposes, and properties owned by the government and government instrumentalities.

Pending RPT Code amendment

An amendment to Cebu City’s RPT Code is currently pending before the City Council. This was already the second version of the proposed amendment to the RPT Code after suspended Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama vetoed the first version approved in 2022.

Rama’s administration initiated the revision of the RPT Code in 2023 as it eyed P15 billion in tax collection to fuel projects and programs in line with his “Singapore-like” vision for the city. / JJL

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