Moratorium on Baguio City’s property valuation hike sought

Medical & Health

The local legislative branch here on Thursday asked Mayor Benjamin Magalong to suspend the increase in the fair market value of real properties in the city to avoid a spike in property taxes.

“It is untimely considering the financial condition of many residents and businesses who suffered losses because of the Covid (coronavirus disease 2019),” Councilor Joel Alangsab, one of the authors, said in a message to reporters.

Alangsab said the local government should consider the pandemic as a reason to push back the increase.

He said an increase in taxes will not be shouldered by the property owner alone, but will most likely be passed on to the renters through higher rent.

He said several small shops and religious congregations had already been forced to stop renting after their revenues and collections went down due to the pandemic.

The resolution filed before the city council said such an increase would be contrary to the government’s “Heal as One” mantra popularized to help lift all sectors from the economic setback brought by the pandemic.

Ordinance 16, approved in 2020, provides for a 70-percent increase in the fair market value of real properties in the first year of implementation and the remaining 30 percent to take effect a year after.

The ordinance provides that the assessment level for residential and agricultural land is fixed at 2 percent, while the assessment level of commercial, industrial, mineral, and special classes of lands is at 7 percent.

A hotel in the city that used to pay PHP65,000 will have to pay PHP259,000 per annum once the increase takes effect.

The country’s biggest membership resort will pay about PHP11 million from the old PHP4 million.

A residential property that used to pay PHP350 per year will have to pay PHP1,500.

The city assessor’s office earlier said there are 62,398 taxable properties in the city.

Of the number, 5,767 have not increased in tax while the rest had varying increase rates due to the increase in the fair market value, change of land use, and/or correction of erroneous assessments.

City assessor Almaya Addawe previously said the increase will also give funds to the city for its recovery efforts and that the increase is timely considering that the last increase in fair market value was in 1995.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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