MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/10 July) — Bukidnon’s two electric cooperatives are negotiating with the provincial government for reconsideration of a total of P58 million in real property taxes, claiming they do not want to pass on extra fees to consumers.
Raul Alkuino, board president of the First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative, told MindaNews they are seeking to strike a compromise deal with Gov. Alex Calingasan’s administration.
He said they met with Calingasan on his first week in office to explain to him their position on the imposition of real property taxes on the firms’ electric posts, wires, and transformers by the previous administration headed by Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr.
Calingasan was vice governor of Zubiri.
Last month, the Zubiri administration published in local newspapers the notice of auction of the properties subject to taxation.
Alkuino said not all of these are taxable because most of them, estimated at two-thirds, were acquired through subsidies.
He said their biggest concern is that if the provincial government imposes additional real property taxes, P37 million for Fibeco and at least P21 million for the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (Buseco), they will pass these on to the consumers.
Fr. Danilo Paciente, member of the Buseco board, confirmed that electric cooperatives have no other option but pass on to consumers the additional taxation. “Consumers will really react to this once they know the implications,” he told MindaNews by telephone Saturday.
For Fibeco, the P37 million additional real property taxes means passing on at least P0.32 centavos per kilowatt hour to the consumers, Alkuino added.
He said they are proposing a win-win position that the provincial government will review the computations. He added that they are willing to pay additional fees to be passed on to consumers of not more than P0.105 centavos per kilo watt hour.
“But we still need to propose it to the general assembly. Hopefully they will agree to it, but if they won’t, there’s nothing we can do,” Alkuino told MindaNews.
Calingasan confirmed to MindaNews the request for review by the two firms saying they have been asking for more time.
The request is favorable, he said, but added “he would still need his team to study the proposal.”
“We are willing to work out the payment of these additional taxes but this has to go through the process,” Alkuino said.
Meanwhile, the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative has posted a P5 million bond in response to the provincial government’s notice of auction of the properties subject to real property taxation. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)