Vice Mayor Duterte asks treasurer to explain P1.1B tax delinquency

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/19 February)- Vice Mayor Paolo Z. Duterte has asked City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) chief Rodrigo Riola for an explanation on the P1.1 billion tax delinquency submitted to the city council’s finance committee.

This after CTO officials revealed last week that the data given to the council “may include items that could have been redundant.”

The data could have “bloated” figures of delinquent taxes amounting to P1.1 billion from seven of the city’s 11 treasury districts, Riola said.

“[I asked the CTO to] give me evidence of the accounts that have been paid. There was no answer,” Duterte said, adding that there was no truth he was harassing businessmen to pay immediately.

Duterte said that he has written Riola to provide receipts and other kinds of evidence that there were already paid items in the list that was provided to the finance committee, as well as other clarifications such as ownerships and actual delinquent accounts.

On the matter of condonation of fines and penalties, which Mayor Rodrigo Duterte tackled over the weekend in the ‘Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa’ television show, the vice mayor asked businessmen whether they have tried to settle these through the proper channels.

“Look at (Barangay) Baganihan, they have been asking for roads. Motorcycles cannot enter the area because there is no road. They have to walk through the mud to get to their village. Where do we get the funds for the roads?” Duterte said.

Speaking to reporters in a site visit to Baganihan in Marilog district, which is about three hours from downtown, Duterte said that if the delinquent taxpayers wanted a compromise, they have to face the treasurer’s office themselves.

“What did you do? We were just reminding the city treasurer. I just read the revenue code. Now it’s my fault? I just asked the businessmen to face their obligations,” he said.

The vice mayor said that if the city treasurer’s office was doing its job, there should not have been a tax delinquency reaching P1.1 billion.

In an interview, finance chair Danilo Dayanghirang said it would help if the city could at least collect around half of the amount so that social services such as health and scholarships could be addressed.

“We have incoming students who are crying because they don’t know where to get the money for the next school year,” Dayanghirang said Tuesday.

In earlier interviews, CTO officials said that the information they submitted to the city council was based on the report of the City Assessor’s Office. (MindaNews)