New land values for Cebu in 2009?
By Suzzane Salva-Alueta Cebu Daily News CEBU CITY, Philippines--Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said it was time the Capitol updated its schedule of fair market values of land in the province -- the basis for computing real property taxes. She said taxes collected by the provincial government were based on the 2002 schedule of fair market values. With three Cebu towns recently upgraded to cities, exempting them from sharing their real property taxes with the provincial government, Garcia said the Capitol has to make up for the lost revenue. “As much as possible, we do not want to burden the people. But now, our peso is strong, our economy is good. We have not amended the market schedule for a long, long time. So I hope they (constituents) will understand,” she said. According to the LGC, local government units are allowed to do a general revision of property assessment every three years. The tax issue was among the topics discussed by the provincial board during its out-of-town session in Balamban town on Monday. “It’s really a concern. Unless that amendment passes in Congress in regards to the share of component cities under the Local Government Code (LGC), we will have to brace ourselves for a significant reduction in the revenues of the province,” Garcia told the Cebu Provincial Board on Monday. Provincial Assessor Anthony Sususco said it was he who recommended that the schedule of market values be updated. He said he submitted a proposal to the Provincial Board last week to increase the schedule of market values by 50 to 75 percent. “I hope they would approve it this year so that we can conduct a mass appraisal and revision of taxes of properties by next year. Then we can implement the increase by 2009,” Sususco said. The total assessed value of the province’s real properties is P14 billion. The provincial government has a target tax collection of P280-million annually. Sususco said that if the proposal to increase the schedule of market values is approved, then the province’s total assessed value of its properties could reach P21 billion, with a target collection of P440 million. Starting 2008, Cebu Province would no longer receive a share of real property taxes collected in Bogo, Carcar and Naga, all of which became component cities of Cebu province this year. With the potential decrease in revenues for the province caused by the status change of these cities, Representative Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), filed a bill in Congress seeking to require component cities of provinces to continue sharing their real property taxes with the province. In an interview with the governor after the session, Governor Garcia explained that for several years, Capitol chose not to raise the schedule of market values, concentrating instead on intensifying tax collection. She said the province was especially affected by the conversion of Naga into a component city, since it was the town that contributed the most in the entire province in terms of real property taxes. Naga is the site of several large industrial facilities, mostly relating to power generation and cement production.
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