SouthCot intensifies tax awareness and info campaign

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 August) — The provincial government of South Cotabato has intensified its tax awareness and information campaign in the wake of its sluggish tax collection performance during the first five months of the year.

Provincial Treasurer Elvira Rafael said they only collected P61.4 million in real property taxes from January to May as nine of the province’s 10 municipalities failed to reach their target collections reportedly due to the onslaught of the long dry spell or El Niño phenomenon.

She said the province’s total collection output only represents 74.23 percent of its targeted collection for the period.

“Our records show that there was a significant drop in our real property tax payments when the El Niño intensified last April,” Rafael said.

Based on the Statement of Targeted Real Property Tax Collection released by the Provincial Treasurer’s Office, only the municipal government of Tupi met its target after it collected a total of P6.04 million in real property taxes or a collection rating of 103.55 percent based on its targeted collection of P5.8 million.

T’boli town came in next with a collection rating of 92.28 percent followed by Surallah with 88.75 percent, Banga with 88.66 percent, Tampakan with 79.94 percent, Polomolok with 72.13 percent, Sto. Niño with 69.29 percent, Tantangan with 56.12 percent, Norala with 53.06 percent and Lake Sebu with 13.44 percent.

Rafael cited that during the first quarter of the year, all 10 municipalities in the province exceeded their collection targets but their performance dropped significantly last April and May.

She said realty owners, especially the farmers, paid their tax dues early during the first quarter because of the incentives offered by the local governments.

“The succeeding months turned out as a lean period and it was understandable since the farming sector was already reeling from the drought by then and then they have to prepare also for the enrollment of their children,” Rafael said.

To address the problem, Rafael said they have intensified their information and education activities in all 10 municipalities of the province to ensure that they recover and meet their collection targets by the third quarter of the year.

For this year, the PTO had set its total collection target at P165.41 million. “I think we can still recover by the third quarter because of the entry of the palay harvest season,” Rafael said.

Aside from their intensified information drive, she added that are currently strengthening their collection strategies by conducting barangay or community meetings and the designation of deputized collection personnel at the barangay level. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)