‘Bacolod tax increase very untimely’

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The business community here is opposing the proposed increase of taxes in this city.

Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( MBCCI) executive director Frank Carbon said on Tuesday that it is “very untimely.”

He pointed out that “the increase in business tax and real estate tax will be passed on by small businesses to the prices of goods and services.”

He added that this will make food and other essentials and services beyond the reach of lower-income bracket families.

The result is that more families will suffer from hunger and malnutrition, Carbon said.

He added that the whole country, including Bacolod, is beset by two major crises – soaring prices of food and other essentials, and energy and electric power.

“This is the result of a confluence of events, the lingering ill effects of the pandemic and the Russia/Ukraine conflict,” Carbon said.

He pointed out that locally, these ill effects will be aggravated by the sky-high legislated wage increase being pushed by Congress and the continued importation/smuggling of food items.

Recently, Bacolod City Mayor Alfredo Benitez endorsed to the Sanggunian Panlungsod for “appropriate action” the letter of city treasurer Arlene Memoria.

In her letter addressed to the mayor, Memoria said that “as more than five years have passed since our last adjustment, the undersigned would like to request that we increase and upgrade the scale of our tax rates in view of our desire to generate more revenues to finance various development projects for the city.”

Both Benitez and Memoria cited Section 191 entitled (Authority of the Local Government Units to adjust rates of Tax Ordinances) of the Local Government Code stating that “local government units shall have the authority to adjust the tax rates as prescribed herein not often than once in every five (5) years but in no case shall such adjustment exceed 10 percent of the rates fixed in this code.”

Councilor Thaddy Sayson, chairman of the Committee on Finance, told Daily Guardian that the measure has yet to be discussed.

When asked if the SP has received the letter of Mayor Benitez endorsing the letter of Memoria, Sayson it was only the latter who wrote to the SP and that Benitez did not endorse it.

But when informed that DG has a copy of Benitez’s letter endorsing the request of Memoria, Sayson said it would still depend on the SP, not on the mayor.

He also said that the matter will be tackled by the Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Councilor Vladi Conzales because it is about funds.

The city government recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the Development of the Philippines for the loan.