Reat estate firms contribute P100-M taxes to South Cot

Dr. Alegria Beltran, provincial treasurer, said the local government's real property tax collections from January to October reached P113.6 million, the bulk of which came from industrial and agricultural companies operating in the province's 10 towns.

She said companies based in Polomolok, among them Dole Philippines, posted the biggest tax payments, reaching at least P78 million during the period.

Polomolok, a first class municipality, is considered as the province's agricultural and industrial hub.

Beltran said among the town's top taxpayers were fruit giant Dole Philippines, asparagus exporter Marsman-Drysdale, fruit processing firm Truly Natural Food Corporation, Pryce Gas, Monterey Farms and Freyssinet Corporation.

Dole presently maintains a 14,000-hectare pineapple plantation in Polomolok and Tupi towns which supply the pineapple requirement of their cannery operations.

Aside from generating the biggest real property tax collection, Beltran said Polomolok also landed third among the 10 municipalities in the province in terms of collection efficiency.

She said the town's P78 million collection is 130 percent more than its collection target for the period.

Beltran said T'boli town registered the highest increase in tax collections at 228 percent followed by Tampakan at 156 percent.

However, she said T'boli only posted a total collection of P4.8 million while Tampakan generated P3.6 million.

The tax collections in T'boli and Tampakan, which separately host multibillion mining projects, mainly came from the operations of banana plantations in the two towns.

Beltran said T'boli's tax top contributors were United Banana Corporation and the BCI Overland Transport Corporation.

In Tampakan, she said the bulk of their real property tax collections came from Lapanday Group's Global Fruits Corporation and the Rural Bank of Tampakan. 

Beltran said the resort town of Lake Sebu generated the lowest tax collection at less than a million, representing a collection rating of only 49 percent.

"The problem with Lake Sebu is that the T'boli residents there think they are exempt from paying taxes. Right now we are still trying to fix this problem through information campaigns," she said.

Beltran said they have tapped the area's barangay councils as conduits in their tax collection programs, especially in the information campaign. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)