In Bukidnon, plant trees, get tax discount

MALAYBALAY CITY  (MindaNews/17 March) — Provincial board member Jay Albarece has proposed an ordinance granting real property tax discounts for  lots with high density of  trees to serve as incentive to residents who have been planting and protecting trees in their own lots.

“One way of encouraging private individuals and entities to actively participate in the reforestation of the province is to grant real property tax discounts to those who have been growing and protecting the trees in their respective lots,” Albarece said in his proposed ordinance.

He said the province can grant a 10-percent discount for lots with at least two trees per 100 square meters or at least 200 trees per hectare. He said a 20-percent discount could be given for lots with at least 10 trees per 100 square meters or a thousand trees per hectare.

But he said lots with past due real property tax regardless of whether the penalties and surcharges are later on condoned and lots already exempt from real property taxes are not covered by the discount.

To avail of the discount, the proposed ordinance provides that a taxpayer should submit to the Office of the Municipal Assessor a Green Lot Certification issued by the Municipal Environment Natural Resources Officer stating that the lot covered by the Declaration of Real Property has been inspected. The exact number of trees found to be growing there at the time of the inspection should also be included.

But the certification is valid only for one year, Albarece proposed. Those who will submit fake, falsified, untruthful certification will pay penalties and will face possible criminal prosecution.

Albarece said it is the policy of the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

“The protection of the environment and preservation of the natural splendor of the province, although primarily the duty of the government, are responsibilities of every citizens,” he added.

Albarece told MindaNews the proposed ordinance has been referred to the committee on laws and may also be referred to the SP Oversight Committee, which is hearing the provincial government’s proposed real property tax rate revisions. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)