by Rio N. Araja
[ manilastandardtoday.com ] October 18, 2011
LOCAL officials on Monday appealed to wealthy families residing in posh villages in Quezon City for “compassion” in helping build homes for informal settlers through higher real estate taxes.
At a news conference, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte announced the approval of the controversial Social Housing Tax ordinance on third and final reading.
The ordinance imposes an additional five percent tax on lands with assessed value exceeding P100,000 that shall accrue to a special account under the city government’s general fund over the next five years.
Belmonte said the ordinance was drawn up to help provide slum dwellers with a shelter program.
The ordinance is facing strong opposition from subdivision lot owners.
The vice mayor, who sits as speaker of the city council, asked those residing in upscale villages to be compassionate enough to pay more taxes and help the poor.
“Christ said we must be our brother’s keepers considering we are given more. To whom is given more, to whom is much expected,” Belmonte told reporters.
Out of the 260,966 parcels of land in the city, only 68,186 land titles or 26.13 percent are covered by the new property tax ordinance.
Buildings, machineries, and other developments are excluded from the new tax.
“Not all properties would be subjected to the tax ordinance,” District IV Councilor Edcel Lagman cleared.
District II Councilor Roderick Paulate urged affected taxpayers to give the city government a chance to enforce the new tax.
“Tax per se hurts anyone, including us showbiz personalities. But we really have to understand that we have responsibility to our fellow people. We have to start somewhere. Look first at the results. The ordinance is not only pro-poor, but the fund would be translated into more public service,” he said.
District IV Councilor Bong Suntay, the council’s majority floor leader, said the city is ranked number one in tax collection, but its resident are not the highest taxed in the country.
Tadeo Palma, secretary to the Office of the Mayor, cited the two ongoing projects in Barangay Kaligayahan in Novaliches to accommodate 900 squatter families, and in Barangay Payatas for 350 squatter families.