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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, January 26, 2018
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RPT case propaganda stunt
BY MARK GARCIA

“A propaganda stunt”

This was the comment of Bacolod Mayor EvelioLeonardiato the case filed by former mayor MonicoPuentevella against the implementation of the new real property tax ordinance that he said had undergone honest procedures.

“Based on my consultations with legal luminaires, this is basically a propaganda stunt… someone who needs this in aid of election and wants to be seen and heard again, came up with this gimmick,” Leonardia said at a press conference at the Bacolod City Government Center yesterday.

On Tuesday, Puentevella filed a case before the Regional Trial Court seeking a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of City Ordinance No. 827, or the new real property tax (RPT) ordinance.

He filed it against Leonardia, the SangguniangPanlungsod, City Assessor MaphilindoPolvora, and City Treasurer Giovanni Balalilhi, asking the court to set aside the new RPT ordinance and declare it unconstitutional for being violative of the equal protection clause and R.A. 7160 or the Local Government Code.

Puentevella, in earlier reports, said that he is not against taxation but C.O. 827 is unconstitutional, exorbitant and unfair, and he is asking for its review.

Leonardia said the new RPT underwent an honest public hearing before it was approved and it is a more reasonable and acceptable ordinance as the recent property tax collections were beyond expectations and getting better.

Present at the press conference were Councilors Cindy Rojas, EmAng, Bart Orola, Elmer Sy, RenecitoNovero, Caesar Distrito, Dindo Ramos, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, City AssesorPolvora, and City Legal Officer JoselitoBayatan.

‘DOOMED TO FAIL'

Distrito, SangguniangPanglungsod Committee Chair for Appropriations and Finance, said the case filed in the court is “doomed to fail” as it failed to exhaust the administrative remedies required by the law and did not question the procedural and substantial proceedings of the ordinance.

During the press conference, Distrito explained the procedures undergone by the ordinance before it was approved, like posting of information in all the barangays and major areas around the city, consultations, and conducting of public hearings involving concerned sectors.

“We could safely say that the new ordinance complied with the statutory, procedural, and substantial requirements,” Distrito said, adding “And because he (the complainant) did not comply with the administrative remedies, his complaint is doomed to fail.”

Councilor Dindo Ramos, who was the author of the new RPT ordinance, also said that C.O. 827 is not excessive or oppressive as the valuations imposed were lower compared to the 2014 version of the ordinance, that was nullified by the court.

Leonardia also said that the new RPT ordinance is completely the opposite of the 2014 RPT ordinance thatwas approved under Puentevella's administration that was latter nullified.

He added that the last RPT increase was made2004 and if the law will be followed, the increase should be done every three years.

‘HIGH COMPLIANCE'

Polvora, the city assessor, also said that the schedule of market values was submitted to the Department of Finance to seek approval before it was submitted to SP.

“They scrutinized everything… without the DOF's certification, we cannot refer it to SP,” he said.

Bayatan said that the compliance with collection of property taxes was at 73.19 percent since it started December last year up to this month, and there is only about 26 percent remaining to be collected in the next months of 2018.

Polvora also said they did not receive any complaints from various companies in Bacolod, only position papers, contrary to reports that they got complaints regarding the property tax increase.

In a comparative report stated by Bayatan, there was an increase in the number of Real Property Units (RPUs) this 2018 which is 65,838 which is 6,499 higher than 2017 which was 59,339. In total there were 110,188 RPUs paid this year.

The amount collected from these RPUs was P342,465,906.78, which is P117,581,204.83 or 52.29 percent higher than in 2017, the record also shows.

“The petition means nothing as RPT is correct and pro-people, and it proves business confidence in Bacolod,” Bayatan added. * MLG

 

 

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