Lapu-Lapu City P101M richer

MORE than P100 million went to the coffers of the Lapu-Lapu City Government yesterday, after the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) paid 16 years worth of business taxes.

MCIAA Property Division Manager Alvaro Derramas handed two checks for P101 million to City Treasurer Elenita Catagcatag in the latter’s office yesterday morning.

The payment came five days after the Supreme Court (SC) First Division ruled that some properties of the airport are exempted from tax.

With the latest payment, the MCIAA’s business tax liability now stands at P202.8 million, Catagtag said. That includes taxes due this year.

The taxes paid yesterday were incurred by MCIAA from 1998 to 2014, she said.

u201cThis is our obligation,” Derramas told reporters. “We programmed this already since last year.”

Catagcatag said MCIAA’s unpaid real property taxes stand at P1.32 billion. The amount still includes the properties exempted by SC.

Purpose

In a decision issued last Friday, the SC said airport facilities used solely for public or governmental purposes, such as runways and taxiways, are exempted from tax.

Mayor Paz Radaza said the City still has not received a copy of the ruling.

u201cWe can’t say what legal action to take for now,” she said in her regular press conference yesterday. But she said the City may appeal the decision if it can.

On the recent payment from MCIAA, Radaza said the amount will go to the City’s general fund and will be used for several projects, including building classrooms.

She also clarified that the City does not have to return the real property taxes paid by MCIAA before the recent SC ruling.

u201cFrom the very start, the City and MCIAA agreed that payment will be made for properties not covered by the pending case,” Radaza said.

Big help

Since last year, MCIAA has paid over P200 million in real property taxes. This year it has paid P41 million.

Radaza repeatedly called on MCIAA to settle its taxes, saying these can go a long way in addressing the shortage of classrooms in the city.

A portion of real property taxes goes to the local government unit’s Special Education Fund.

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