Duterte wants to be ‘diplomatic’ re unpaid real property taxes

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 Feb) – Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said the government should negotiate with businesses first regarding unpaid taxes before using its powers to auction or adding surcharges to the delinquent accounts.

This comes a week after it was revealed at the City Council that the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) listed P1.12 billion in uncollected real property taxes.

Speaking at the weekly ‘Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa’ television show last Sunday, Duterte said that while it was the exclusive domain of the local government, it could also adopt a more diplomatic means to collect the taxes.

Vice Mayor Paolo Z. Duterte said in a privilege speech at the Sangguniang Panlungsod last week that he was concerned about the delinquencies and asked the CTO to step up collections or leave office.

“We can ask them to pay the taxes slowly and schedule the payments,” the mayor said.

He added he was also considering the condonation of penalties, but that the government should still charge the penalties.

“The surcharges, we can do away with,” Duterte said.

Mayor Duterte said the city government could be more “diplomatic” about the tax collections. “That’s not how to run a city,” the mayor said.

“Enter into a compromise, make a schedule, and hope they follow what is specified there,” he said.

Vice Mayor Duterte said the city council could be forced to “use all applicable powers of the law” and said the body could amend the Tax Code so that collections by the CTO would be enhanced.

Delinquent accounts have reached to those levels from at least 60,000 accounts out of the city’s 7 out of 11 districts, according to finance committee chair Danilo Dayanghirang.

According to a copy of a list of real property tax delinquencies per district, Poblacion District had the most delinquencies, at P483,637,744.90, with Buhangin District with the second highest at P359,813,423.26.

Agdao district’s collectibles have reached P99,629,015.81, while Bunawan district has P94,197,059.69.

Calinan district has P52,642,397.13 in collectibles, while Baguio and Paquibato districts have P15,172,023.21 and P10,069,666.44, respectively.

The data distributed by the finance committee compiled partial information from the CTO, as of December 31, 2013.

This accounted for only 7 out of the city’s 11 treasury districts.

Dayanghirang said his office was still compiling data that they received from the CTO.

City Treasurer Rodrigo Riolo said in a telephone interview that there was still a need to clean up the information they received, clarifying that the CTO data is based on the report by the City Assessor’s Office.

There could have been data that was redundant, he said.

CTO Real Property Unit acting chief Victor Ranada said the redundant or duplicated data could have bloated the total amount and that they were working on cleaning up the data.

Ranada also cited that there could have been properties that were assessed in one name and declared delinquent but was transferred in another name with the new taxpayer already paying the amount.

“All data stems from the tax declarations,” Ranada said.