07/22/2008 [ tribune.net.ph ]
As everyone followed intensely the takeover by City Hall of the Vitas abattoir last July 11, only key officials of the city knew of the “quiet” and “dignified” takeover last July 9 of the Grand Boulevard Hotel, which had back taxes for the past 10 years to the city of P276 million.
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim announced the takeover of Grand Boulevard to city employees during the flag ceremony saying that City Hall is bent on collecting unpaid taxes from business establishments to close its budget gap of P1.4 billion.
“Why it took so many years for the taxes to be uncollected beats me. We are collecting what they failed to collect in the past administration. For as long as I am mayor of Manila, I will enforce all laws.
“This has a bearing on you people. You are asking for additional bonuses. But where will we get the money. We have a deficit of P1.4 billion. So help us collect,” the Mayor said.
The Mayor lamented that “when you collect the taxes due the city, you are being called a devil by some people.”
The mayor then called city treasurer Erlinda Marteja to report on the taxes being collected by City Hall. Marteja said the city has conducted 29 auctions after issuing warrant of levy against those with outstanding obligations to the city. She said in the first batch of those covered by warrants of levy, there were 100 delinquent taxpayers. The second batch has 300, Marteja said.
Mayor Lim said the city is not zeroing in on the Vitas abattoir in its collection efforts. “We are running after all delinquent taxpayers by intensifying our collection of their obligations due the city.”
“I do not want to increase taxes because people already are too burdened financially. But the City Council wants to raise revenues by new tax measures,” the Mayor said.