Inclusion of SRP in Cebu City's real property tax code pushed

Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera.
Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera.

A LOCAL legislator is pushing to include the South Road Properties (SRP) in the Real Property Tax (RPT) Code of Cebu City after discovering the area is not part of the existing code.

Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, vice chair of the budget and finance committee, has proposed an amendatory ordinance to incorporate the fair market values of SRP into the existing RPT Code.

If approved, the schedule of base unit market values in SRP will range from P45,000 to P60,000, depending on the lot classification.

The proposed ordinance states that the schedule of fair market values is the basis for calculating property taxes within Cebu City.

Pesquera introduced the draft ordinance to the City Council during the regular session on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024.

The councilor believes that if the measure is approved, it will significantly increase income for the City Government.

“It will balance off with the other developed areas. Also, it will add up income for the City,” said Pesquera in a text message to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024.

Ongoing discussion

There is an ongoing discussion in the council for the proposed revision of the RPT Code after the council-approved revision was vetoed by Mayor Michael Rama in the first quarter of 2023.

In August 2023, the Local Finance Committee submitted another proposed revision of the RPT Code.

“A cursory review on Section 17 Schedule of Fair Market Values as approved by City Tax Ordinance No. XCIX would show that the South Road Properties is not included,” read a portion of the proposed ordinance.

Proposed schedule of base unit market values

In her draft ordinance, Pesquera proposed that the schedule of base unit market value of all areas under the main road highway to be at P60,000.

For other areas, the proposed schedule of base unit market value at sub street will be at P50,000; San Remo Oasis condominium area at P50,000; Citi de Mare condominium area at P50,000; Vestil Road area at P45,000; and all other areas in SRP at P50,000.

The proposed amending ordinance was referred to the committee on laws for review.

Should the ordinance be approved, the amendment will take effect on July 1 this year.

Revision

The required revision of the real property assessment is every three years as provided in the Local Government Code.

The last time the City Government revised its property assessment was in 2002. This was supposed to take effect on Jan. 1, 2003, but its implementation was moved to 2006.

In her proposed ordinance, Pesquera said during the discussion up to the eventual approval of the current RPT Code, the SRP was still in the construction stage, and the needed facilities and utilities to make the parcels of land within the area was still in its inception stage.

Pesquera said that since the general revision of the schedule of market values was approved two decades ago, significant developments and business establishments have been built in the area. This has led to a substantial increase in land prices within the SRP.

Despite the developments, the real property taxes collected by the City remain very low. The market values used for assessment are still based on when the SRP was undeveloped.

“Thus, there is a need to amend the schedule of fair market values to incorporate the South Road Properties,” Pesquera said in her draft ordinance.

The RPT Code was first enacted on Nov. 17, 1993. It has been amended several times since then.

The construction of SRP, then known as the South Reclamation Project, started in the 1990s. Civil works began in 1997.

SunStar Cebu reported in 2010 that the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (now the Japan Bank for International Cooperation) pledged to finance the South Reclamation Project in May 1995.

Substantially completed in 2006, the SRP was declared a special economic zone and renamed the South Road Properties.

The Cebu City Government signed a contract with Filinvest Land Inc. for the first sale and joint venture deal involving the SRP in February 2009. In January 2010, the City closed a sale of a 30-hectare SRP lot to SM Prime Holdings, for P2.7 billion. / JJL

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