Incoming mayor assures no tax on real estate, permits on watch

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By Emme Rose S. Santiagudo

ILOILO CITY Mayor-elect Jerry P. Treñas has outlined his governance plans for the next three years to the business community, including an assurance that there will be a moratorium on real property and business tax increases.

“There will be no increases in the real property and business taxes,” Mr. Treñas said during last week’s consultative meeting with Iloilo’s business leaders organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)-Iloilo Chapter.

Mr. Treñas, the outgoing lone congressional representative of the city who had previously served three terms as mayor from 2001, also vowed to push the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to hasten the approval of International Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s (ICTSI) proposal to invest P8.7 billion for the Loboc Port upgrade.

“I support their (ICTSI’s) request to hasten the approval of the project. Iloilo was first known to be a ports city. It is about time that we reclaim the title. I fully support the ICTSI,” he said.

Aside from the Loboc Port, Mr. Treñas said there is also a PPA proposal to upgrade the Ortiz Wharf.

“We have requested PPA to develop that and they have made a development study, they are going to spend P100 million for that,” he said.

The incoming mayor also presented the members of his administrative team who will help him implement his “WHEELS” program, which stands for welfare, health and sanitation, education, environmental management, livelihood & the local economy, and sustainability.

“It is important that before we start our term, we set the rules. And one of our rules is (that) governance is not my sole responsibility, it should be a shared responsibility between the governor and the government and that is why this afternoon I am very happy that we are here. I have been meeting already with my team,…(which) would help me implement my programs,” Mr. Treñas said.

Other measures that Mr. Treñas aims to pursue include seeking assistance from the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Center for the upgrade of the city’s slaughterhouse and redevelopment of public markets, and revival of the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras Economic Development Council.

Maria Victoria Lea Lara of the Iloilo Business Club (IBC), meanwhile, said the consultative meeting was also intended to manifest the business community’s support for the incoming local government.

“The overwhelming support of the community who are present today manifests the willingness of the business sectors to work with the incoming administration,” said Ms. Lara, noting that the strong partnership between the private and public sector has been one of the main drivers of Iloilo City’s development.