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[ City of San Fernando ] Zonal valuation plan back to 'square one'

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 [ ]

By Jovi T. De Leon

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Two Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Revenue District Office (RDO) 21 officers said Tuesday that the review and planned revision of the province’s controversial zonal valuation scheme has sent them back to square one.

Jose Paulino and Amador Ducut, both are lawyers, said the review of zonal rates in the province would have to be revised in general since 20 of the province's 22 municipalities and cities raised opposition to it, which supposedly took effect last March 13 but was suspended to April 15 until a review of the rates has been done.

This was arrived at during the public hearing attended by various business groups, realtors, and municipal and city assessors.

Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. Chairman Levy P. Laus and City of San Fernando Mayor Oscar Rodriguez lobbied for an extension of the scheme's implementation before Department of Finance Secretary Margarito Teves and BIR Commissioner Sixto Esquivas.

But Paulino told Sun.Star they will not be able to implement the zonal valuation rates on the April 15 deadline set by officials since they would have to review as a whole the proposed rates since most of local assessors have brought up their respective concerns on the zonal valuation scheme.

Only the local government units of Porac in RDO 21A and Candaba in RDO 21B have not raised any opposition to the scheme.

RDO 21A is composed of the City of Angeles, Arayat, Porac, Magalang and Mabalacat and has Paulino as its revenue officer. The rest of the province's municipalities and the City of San Fernando are under Ducut's RDO 21B.

Paulino and Ducut organized the group into two technical working committees -- the South Pampanga RDO 21B and the North Pampanga RDO21B -- to expedite what they said was needed revision of the zonal valuation scheme.

The working committees are composed of representatives from the private sector, two licensed appraisers, assessors and local government officials. Representing the Provincial Government for North Pampanga is Board Member Tarcicio Halili, while Board Member Johnny Quiambao seats in to South Pampanga.

"We would be discussing the rates as a working committee under Department Order 35-04 where the representation of each sector in the sub-technical committee is called for. There we would resolve any issue regarding the zonal rates and agree on something acceptable to all," Paulino said.

Ducut, for his part, said that since the revisions have now veered away from the selected areas like the controversial P40,000 per square meter rate at Jose Abad Santos Avenue to a broader zonal coverage, it makes them longer to revise the scheme and extend the suspension until they arrive at an amicable agreement with the various sectors.

"It will be a little bit complicated since we have to meet at one point, their proposed rates and ours. We have to add this together and divide it by two to come up with the rate. For example, if our proposal for JASA is P20,000 and theirs is P10,000, our halfway rate would be P15,000. If there would be no disagreements, we sign the scheme. If there are concerns, we go to another public hearing," Ducut said.

He added that the committees would start meeting on Wednesday.


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