Bacolod Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson yesterday appealed to the businessmen not to put political color on the Tax Ordinance issue.
Sayson said he was not threatened by the statement of a businessman that they will mark public officials who will insist on implementing the new rates under the New Tax Code during the election period.
However, he was surprised that they held a press conference when the city was still having ongoing dialogs with them on the matter, he said.
Sayson said they had been having a very open negotiation since the beginning and they will still continue to negotiate with the businessmen to find a win-win solution.
He said he is happy that there were many points both sides had already agreed on, and he hopes they could finish everything as soon as possible.
Councilor Al Victor Espino, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Finance, said that they are not shutting their doors to the business sector of Bacolod. In fact, they are extending their hands to further negotiate with them until a common ground is reached insofar as the implementation of the new Tax Code is concerned, he said.
Espino said they cannot be swayed by threats that they will suffer the consequence of not being voted upon by the businessmen during the elections.
"My position as author of the Revised Revenue Code is that it is legal, transparent and it underwent the correct process. The ball is in their hands, but we cannot be swayed by threats," he said.
Espino said they will continue the dialog because they want to get the sentiments of the business people. But they should come to terms that are agreeable and acceptable to both parties, he said.
They have compared the rates of Bacolod with other neighboring cities like Talisay, Silay, San Carlos and Iloilo City and found out that the rates Bacolod is offering are better, Espino said.
They hope that the next meeting will be held next week as they must reach a conclusion within this year, he said.
Espino said the city offered to give the businessmen not a rebate for the current year but a tax rate of 50 percent of 1percent with no rebate, but this will take effect in 2013 and will be paid the next five years, he said.
The businessmen did not accept the rates they offered, but they look at it as a good compromise on their side, Espino said. “The point is, if they disagree with it, they are playing politics on the matter," he said.*CGS