BAGUIO CITY – The city government through the city council committee on appropriations and finance presented the proposed revised schedule of market values for lands in another public hearing held last Tuesday at City Hall.
Those who spoke during the hearing did not contest the new rates.
On the contrary, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. Baguio-Benguet Chapter president Modesto Imayaho Sr. expressed support to the adjustment which he said is justified considering that the city government achieved a high collection efficiency placed by city treasurer Alex Cabarrubias at 94.70 percent.
“Had the city’s collection efficiency been low, there would have been no need for an increase as what they just have to do is improve their collection but since our city treasurer reported a very high collection efficiency, then there is really a need for an increase as long as it is equitable and satisfactory to both the city and taxpayers,” Imayaho said.
The speakers mostly brokers and barangay officials presented concerns on tax exemptions which were answered by committee chair Councilor Elmer Datuin and city assessor Almaya Addawe.
Addawe assured that the resulting increase in tax rates in the new schedule was cushioned by the decrease in the assessment levels.
She said they proposed the lowering of assessment levels for land from the current assessment levels of 12 percent in residential lands to just six percent; 35 percent for commercial and industrial land to just eight percent and 12.5 percent for cultural, scientific and hospital to just five percent.
Datuin said that to further temper the impact of the increase, the city is willing to implement the increase in three tranches for three years.
Datuin who was joined by Councilors Edgar Avila and Leandro Yangot Jr. during the hearing said the committee will receive position papers on the proposal within the next 15 days for consideration before they subject the matter to deliberation by the city council.
Addawe said the new schedule was computed based on the current and fair market value for land determined through “geographic stratification” where areas having similar characteristic were identified and grouped under one sub-classification, “sales comparison approach or market data analysis” using sales data and through consultations with bank appraisers, real estate brokers and assessors.
She encouraged those with differing data to submit the same to her office for consideration.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan had expressed hopes that the schedule will finally be adopted by the city council soon for the city to comply with section 219 of the Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code which mandates the city assessor to undertake a general revision of real property assessments within two years after the effectivity of the code in 1992 and every three years thereafter.
The Department of Finance in its LGU Fiscal Sustainability Scorecard branded the city as ‘non-compliant’ in the regular updating of schedule of market values and conduct of general revision of property assessment and was given a poor rating the area of revenue generation capacity for the years 2010, 2011 and 2013. /Aileen P. Refuerzo