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No cushion from QC’s realty tax increase



By Danica M. Uy
Posted on January 05, 2017 [http://www.bworldonline.com ]

TWO MEASURES meant to ease the impact of Quezon City’s hefty real property tax hike on senior citizens and solo parents have been struck down by the local chief executive, who said the bills were tantamount to class legislation and were not published on time.

Mayor Herbert M. Bautista last week vetoed proposed ordinances 20CC-175 and 20CC-176 which sought to grant 10% and 5% discounts on the annual real property tax payments of senior citizens and solo parents, respectively.

“I am constrained to return proposed Ordinances 20CC-175... and 20CC-176... without affirmative action...,” read Mr. Bautista’s Dec. 27 letter to the city council, which received it last Tuesday.

The start of 2017 saw the fair market values of residential, commercial and industrial properties in the city surge 400-733.33%, leading to a 39-131% spike in real property tax due.

“[O]ur authority to grant tax relief and exemptions may only be extended when there is calamity, civil disturbance, failure of crops or adverse economic conditions. These conditions are absent in Quezon City,” Mr. Bautista said in his veto letter, explaining that “[b]oth... are class legislations which discriminate against some and favor others -- which is clearly prohibited.”

He added that both measures “also failed to comply” with the requirement of Republic Act No. 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, for publication in order to become law.

“The ordinances were vetoed by Mayor Bautista allegedly on grounds that they constitute class legislation and were not published on time. Our lawyers are drafting a counter statement...,” Vice-Mayor Ma. Josefina G. Belmonte, the city council’s presiding officer, said in a text message.

“As of now, the proponents decided to write the mayor a formal letter first appealing to him to reconsider the veto,” Ms. Belmonte said, even as she explained that the council can still override the veto via three-fourths vote of all its members, “but this may be considered an antagonistic act and is not often done, especially since most of us in the council are political allies of the mayor.”

“[W]e also urge the sectors involved to lobby with the mayor for reconsideration of his veto.”
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