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QC COUNCIL URGED: SCRAP REAL ESTATE TAX HIKE

Quezon City District 2 Councilor Winnie Castelo is urging the City Council to scrap permanently an ordinance passed in 2016 that increased the fair market value of real estate properties in the city, triggering higher real estate taxes.

In his Proposed Ordinance No. 468, Castelo said: “The COVID-19 pandemic that has caused untold suffering and misery to our people and the nation will not go away in the foreseeable future.”

The proposed legislation seeks to revoke Ordinance No. SP-2556, Series of 2016, and the subsequent ordinances and resolutions related thereto, including the implementing rules and regulations adopted for these measures.

“Our people continue to suffer. Individuals and families are affected. Businesses are struggling to survive its day-to-day operations and to keep their workers. We do not want them to be burdened with higher real estate taxes especially in these times,” he said.

He pointed out that the permanent scrapping of the increased impositions would help tens of thousands of small property owners in Quezon City to tide over the raging health crisis.

“We may consider asking them to contribute again through taxes when times get better,” Castelo added.

Two other councilors co-authored the proposed ordinance. They are Karl Edgar Castelo of District 5 and Melencio Castelo Jr. of District 6.

The proposed legislation seeks to revoke Ordinance No. SP-2556, Series of 2016, and the subsequent ordinances and resolutions related thereto, including the implementing rules and regulations adopted for these measures.

The said ordinance aimed to increase the taxes on lands, buildings, constructions and other improvements. City residents had denounced the adjustments as too steep, claiming that they ranged from more than 500 percent to 1,000 percent.

The three authors of Proposed Ordinance No. 468 said further extending the implementation of Ordinance No. SP-2556, Series of 2016 is not advisable.

On 07 April 2017, the Alliance of Quezon City Homeowners Associations, Inc. (AQCHAI) questioned the validity and constitutionality of the Ordinance in the Supreme Court. Eleven days later, on 18 April 2017, the high court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of the said city legislation. The collection of the real estate taxes based on the revised schedule of values provided for under the said Ordinance was thus suspended.

However, on 18 September 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition and lifted the TRO. Then, two (2) months later, on 19 November 2018, the City Council enacted Ordinance No. SP-2778, Series of 2018, suspending the implementation of the Ordinance for the years 2018 and 2019.

On 16 December 2019, the City approved Ordinance No. SP-2888, Series of 2019 extending the suspension of the collection of taxes based on the revised schedule of values on land until December 2020 while allowing the higher adjustments on buildings and other structures to take effect for the taxable year 2020.

On 15 December 2020, the City approved Ordinance No. SP-2986, Series of 2020 further extending the suspension of the collection of higher taxes until December 2022.

The three authors of the Proposed Ordinance No. 468 said that further extending the implementation of Ordinance No. SP-2556, Series of 2016 is not advisable. Rather, said Ordinance should be revoked permanently and in its entirety so as not to inflict additional burden to the Quezon City residents who are all grappling with the effects of the pandemic.

“We might as well cast away the original sin, which is Ordinance No. 2556, Series of 2016,” they said.

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