BAGUIO CITY – The City Council Committee on Tourism and Special Events want the city’s finance officers to maximize revenue generation mandated under Ordinance No. 001, series of 2001, by collecting more realistic amounts of the hotel occupancy tax.
Councilor Elmer O. Datuin, Chairman of the Committee on Tourism and Special Events, said the local government could not collect realistic figures from the hotels operating in the city because the City Treasury Office relies on the honesty of the hotel owners to declare their income from their existing hotel rooms.
“Our city’s finance officers must devise a system of monitoring hotel occupancy that will allow for a more realistic collection of the hotel occupancy tax to add to the city’s internally generated resources,” Datuin stressed.
Under the city’s tax ordinance, hotel owners are mandated to pay P5 for every occupied room per night as hotel occupancy tax to be paid to the local treasury office.
However, Datuin revealed that it seems local hotel owners are paying a uniform rate of 30 occupied rooms per month. Foreign and domestic visitors flock to the city, especially during weekends and holidays, which raises doubt on the honesty of hotel owners.
City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias confirmed the local government is not getting the right revenues from the hotel occupancy tax because it relies on the declarations of the hotel owners on the number of occupied rooms in their respective establishments.
According to him, the local treasury office will devise a system or assign responsible personnel who will conduct an inventory of occupied rooms in the different hotels as basis forthe collection of the correct hotel occupancy tax.
Datuin advised the city’s finance officers to be aggressive in collecting the right revenues from the taxpayers to help increase the income of the local government while the local legislative body waits for the proposed revision in the city’s revenue code that will guarantee higher income and more funds at the disposal of the city for implementing more development projects and better services.
Based on the data from the proposed city budget of P1.76 billion next year, 42 percent of the income will be from internal sources while 58 percent will come from external sources, particularly the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
Datuin admitted the city’s budget of P1.76 billion next year is way below the P2.5 billion budget of similar highly urbanized cities with similar or slightly higher population and land area, thus, the city is being left behind in terms of competitiveness and providing basic services to the people. /By Dexter A. See