Staggered RPT payments -a temporary balm

May 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment



The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Pangasinan in its session last May 16, acted swiftly for the staggered implementation of the province’s new real property tax as espoused by Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. That act however, will not in any way change the perception that its imposition is excessive and not timely.

Provincial Ordinance No. 146-2010 has been amended for gradual implementation- 50% in 2011, 75% in 2012 and 100% or full implementation in 2013. That was at least the consensus of the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan based on the sponsorship of third termer 2nd District Board Member Von Mark Mendoza.

Is the staggered payment the answer to the questions raised by those critics of the new provincial real property tax (RPT)? No. The issues raised lately were the excessive increase in the percentage like 300% for agricultural lands and 500% for commercial areas. The staggered payment or collection scheme will not in any way change the increases but rather a “ temporary action” to soothe the wounds inflicted on the taxpaying public.

What made me wonder was that the amendment to the Ordinance appeared to have been offshoot of a resolution of the Federation of Liga ng mga Barangays in Pangasinan – a group of village heads who were supposed to be consulted when the previous Ordinance (PO No. 146-2010) was still conceived and impregnated by the provincial assessor and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

But hey, wasn’t the President of the said Liga a signatory to that Ordinance in December 10, 2010? And the President and an ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is no other that the brother of Governor Espino – Amadeo T. Espino. Did he ever consult his colleagues in the Liga in 2010? Why is it that with the mushrooming of unabated criticisms on the new RPT, the Liga is now seemingly on the rescue to the Governor? Why only now?

Obviously, the Liga is being used as a shield to at least simmer down the issue of the RPT. No, not the municipal treasurers and the municipal assessors because most of them are against the new imposition of the RPT, only they could not openly voice out their oppositions. Many of them intimated to me that the processes and procedures for the legislation of the new RPT were not followed, and was railroaded and approved in a short period of time.

The staggered imposition of payments of the new RPT, to me, will not change the reality that the procedures based on the Joint Resolution/Circular of the DILG and DoF dated October 20, 2010 were not followed. It is very clear in that resolution the steps to be undertaken on new RPT. These include the coordination of the provincial assessor with the municipal assessors to come out with real market values of properties- both land and its structures, the conduct of consultation with the taxpaying public and the monitoring of its enactment and implementation by the regional directors of DILG and Dof – and yet these were not followed to the hilt.

Look, where are the new tax declarations at the municipal levels which are supposed to be the basis for the order of payments? Nowhere. Instead, if a taxpayer will go to the municipal assessors, they will consult the revised fair market values of properties based on the “assigned” increase of percentage by the provincial assessor. Are those the real fair market values? No. Because no actual land and structure inspection was ever conducted by the municipal assessors.

Well, to make things palatable to the taxpaying public, the SP issued also an Ordinance condoning all delinquent tax payments until December 31, 2011. This means that taxes including interests and penalties not paid in the previous years will be totally condoned. Those are the properties under the jurisdiction of the provincial government of Pangasinan.

With the passing of the amendments to Provincial Ordinance 146-2010, are we now expecting that the issues on RPT will die down? Are the critics satiated on the staggered payments and/or collection schemes? I don’t think so? The issues raised were not yet answered which is the excessive increase of RPT, no public consultation and the abrupt imposition of the new RPT.

Governor Espino, in various media forums, said that what the provincial government did was only to comply with the law- the Local Government Code of 1991 and the Joint Resolution/Circular of the DILG and DoF. Fine. Were the procedures followed?

And speaking of law/ordinance compliance, I think the provincial government is not keen on complying with some of them. When Espino assumed his governorship in 2007 and until these days, that portion of the Capitol grounds (in front the Capitol) is always being referred to as Capitol Park in his many press releases and even programs. The truth is, that portion has been named Aguedo F. Agbayani Park through a Provincial Ordinance, that is why the statue of the “Grand Old Man of Pangasinan” was conspicuously erected at its center. But why it’s not being refereed to as such for public knowledge and information is a big question mark. Your guess is as good as mine.

What can you say Board Members Angel Baniqued and Alfie Bince?

(for comments email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com)

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Entry filed under: News.

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