Bacolod Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson yesterday said they started the negotiations with the businessmen regarding the New Revenue Code of Bacolod City six months ago yet because it is their duty to listen to the concerns of their constituents, and that politics has not been involved in them.
Councilor Al Victor Espino said the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bacolod-Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry have requested for a reduction in the implementation of the Revised Revenue Code and there is no politics in that, as insinuated by politicians who want to run in 2013.
He said they revised the Revenue Code because of the disparity in the taxes paid by businesses generating big income. He cited as example that, based on the old Revenue Code of 1993, a hospital with a gross income of P800 million only paid P500,000 a year. Under the new Tax Code it has to pay about P2 million, he added.
Espino said he believes that they have already resolved the legal issue with the Department of Justice. “We believe we are responsive to the need of the businessmen,” he added.
However, listening does not mean that they accede to their request, that is why the Mayor has formed a panel composed of the Vice Mayor and himself, as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, to resolve the issues, he said.
They will try to meet them in between, or , at least at a point where they can agree, and he believes they are nearing that, Espino said. They have presented a proposal which they hope will be acceptable to the business groups.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia, meanwhile, said they salute the businessmen for their statesmanship and sense of patriotism.
“We are nearing a solution,” he said, adding that they are hopeful that, in their next meeting, all these will be ironed out.
Leonardia said this is not a political issue at all, since the Tax Ordinance was passed in November last year yet. But since some businessmen reacted and some complained, they started talking about it, he said. This is an ongoing matter, and they are not discussing it just because election is approaching, he added.
Leonardia said they pointed out to the businessmen that the recent controversial creation of 16 new cities meant a reduction of P45 million from the budget of Bacolod, and more cities have been created recently. This will be disadvantageous to existing cities, including Bacolod, since their Internal Revenue Allotment will be affected.
Bacolod’s IRA had been reduced by about P35 million and with the creation of more new cities, the city’s budget will be further reduced by almost P80 million, he said.
Leonardia pointed out that it is not his administration that will reap the advantages from the tax code revision, but the future administrations. “We are just planting the seeds for the future generations to harvest,” he said.
“We also want Bacolod to be in the level of other cities in order that it can maintain its competitive edge,” Leonardia added.*CGS