By Vann Marlo M. Villegas
A PROPOSAL to suspend until after 2019 implementation of the Quezon City (QC) ordinance that increases real property fair market values has secured committee approval, a senior local official said on Sunday.
Asked for updates on the measure, QC Council Majority Floor Leader Franz S. Pumaren said proposed Ordinance No. 20CC-497 was approved at the committee level on Nov. 14.
“It’s up for debate this Monday,” Mr. Pumaren said in a mobile phone message, adding that the council targets second-reading approval on the same day.
“It was approved in the three committees so the next step is… debate in the plenary,” he added, identifying the committees concerned as Ways and Means, Appropriations, as well as Laws, Rules and Internal Government which he heads.
Third-reading approval, Mr. Pumaren said, could take place a week from second-reading fiat.
Mr. Pumaren had said in a press conference on Oct. 26 that the council — the city government’s lawmaking body — targets to approve the proposed ordinance on final reading before yearend.
The proposed local law seeks to suspend until after 2019 — a midterm election year — implementation of Quezon City Ordinance No. SP-2556, Series of 2016 which jacks up real property fair market values, which were last adjusted in December 1995 even if Republic Act No. 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, requires a review every three years.
Quezon City councilors filed the proposed ordinance following the Supreme Court’s Sept. 18 ruling lifting the April 2017 temporary restraining order against the realty fair market value hike.
The assailed local law increases the fair market values (FMV) of residential, commercial and industrial real properties by 400-733.33%, consequently raising tax payable by real property owners by 39-131%. New assessment rates, on the other hand, were cut to five percent for residential and 14% for commercial and industrial lands in order to cushion the FMV increases.
Proponents in the council of the suspension of the realty tax hike cited as reason for their move the multiyear-high monthly inflation rates that averaged 5.1% in the 10 months to October against the central bank’s 2-4% target range for full-year 2018.
They had noted that Malacañang itself, seeking to quell inflation expectations and cushion the public from already high prices of basic goods, has suspended a fresh oil excise tax hike that was scheduled to take place in January.
The city will have additional P700 million in revenues once the planned realty tax hike is implemented.
According to the latest available data from the Finance department’s Bureau of Local Government Finance, Quezon City was the biggest contributor to Metro Manila’s revenues last year with P15.161 billion of the P77.099-billion total revenues of the National Capital Region.
Real property tax is Quezon City’s second-biggest revenue tax source last year with P3.431 billion, following business tax with P9.204 billion.