Manila’s punishing real estate taxes, and the dollar value

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Ej Lopez

Ej Lopez

The continuous appreciation of the US dollar against the peso as of late, though considered by many economic planners as threatening to local trade, will do more good than harm to the local economy in the long run. Despite the threat it poses to local and international trade by way product competition and technology, the long-run repercussions of such a phenomena is beneficial to the US economy, because of economic and financial recovery that will eventually broaden to other areas of growth and development around the world.

The lately strong showing of the dollar indicates a return of the robust business activity in that part of the world, which for quite a time has been deprived in the Western Region. These phenomena in all probabilities signal the start of customary economic activities and recovery in that region of the world.

This trend of booming Western economy will most likely set the trend for this year’s economic milieu. The good thing about this economic transition is the fact that almost all nations stand to benefit from this positive development that lately has been displayed by the West. This encouraging change will most likely create a bullish mood with other nations, directly or indirectly linked with the United States economy.

However you look at these developments that currently exists, it is a preview of what is at stake come 2015; the proposed commencement of the Asean Economic Integration (AEI). The Philippines as some kibitzers observed, will have the upper hand in this battle of economic wits and stability, considering the consistent growth achieved the past few years.


The apprehensions of some in the area of industry and product competitiveness will be doused by the fact that our labor and manpower resources is at par if not better than the rest of the Association of Southeast Asian members. With overseas and rigid local exposures in the field of employment, there should be no doubt with the Filipino’s drive for excellence and developments come 2015.

Manila’s tax increase
Homeowners and real estate, particularly average city dwellers, that had the opportunity of owning one humble dwelling in the city were awakened by the nightmarish increase in the real estate taxes of the city of Manila. The increase was something that will make someone without hypertension experience one. Imagine an average of 150- to 200-percent increase in real estate taxes. A studio-type condominium that measures around 20 square meters (perhaps the size of a comfort room of an average rich guy in Forbes), that previously had a tax of P4,000 will now require a payment of P12,000 in taxes! Does this size of a low- to middle-class condo considered luxurious? Is this the type of ownership that merits a more than 200-percent increase in taxes? Does the city of Manila need to punish average homeowners for breaching from an impoverished life in favor of sustainable living?

For many, this was purchased because it was the only thing that some city dwellers can afford and the only opportunity of having a home they can truly call their own. Nowadays, owning a house and lot is something hardly afforded by many individuals; that is why they settle for these low- to middle-class dwellings. This is blood money earned from their lifetime struggle. It is quite ironic that this increase came from the political leadership that is supposed to be receptive to the needs of the poor; not them knowing that the exorbitant increase would force many to sell their properties and go back to their previous status of being without a home that they can call their own.

These recent developments will surely create repercussions on the leadership of the city of Manila. This has never been endorsed or done in the several years of rule of previous mayors of Manila. But now, barely six months into his term, Mayor Erap Estrada immediately came up with an anti-poor policy; and to think that his “hashtag” was “Erap para sa mahirap.” This runs counter to the image that the good mayor was trying to project.

It is not a question of whether there was no increase in taxes for the past so many years in the city of Manila, but the increase in the real estate levy comes at a time when all kinds of punishing increases in gasoline, electricity and basic necessities unduly burdens the consumers. It is not actually a question of tax increase, but it should at least be reasonable enough for every homeowner to appreciate, and should not be borne out of stubborn behavior or vengeful acts directed and blamed against previous rule.

As it is, everyone is trying to blame their predecessors for whatever leadership “flaks” they create. They refuse to admit their own mistakes and try to hide under the cloak of the previous regimes, despite obvious personal misdemeanor.

Unless and until our leaders become responsible for their own actions and become real statesmen to admit with convictions their slips and rectify it, then we will forever live in the shadow of political and economic misrule and mediocrity.

For comments email: doc.ejlopez@gmail.com with cc to: opinion@manilatimes.net.

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11 Comments

  1. What can we do with this? I’m planing to go there today to pay for my tax but when I read the article and the comments of the readers, I changed my plan. Don’t want to pay the tax anymore. I am not even done yet with my monthly condo amortization and yet the tax that they will be charging me (based on one of the comments) is bigger than my monthly amortization. Can we file a complaint about this? They cannot do this to us without proper notification and justification. Why the need to increase the tax?

  2. I agree, the city government should be very transparent how they came up with this computation. I went there last Monday, my condo unit of 36sqm was given a staggering Php32,548.80 tax!!! And the guy on the 2nd floor assessment office told me “are you sure you are going to pay for that?” seriously, WTF! Even city hall staffs don’t know what they are doing!
    I’m going back next week to ask for another computation because clearly that amount is very unreasonable.

    tax before new mayor ~ php3,780.00
    new mayor ~ php32,548.00
    36sqm
    low cost condo

  3. You got to Go to their Assessment office at 2/F. See it yourself……
    Crowded with people willing to pay tax. Unfortunately, they do it manually, reading taxpayer name one by one.
    Lord has mercy on their souls.

  4. Mayette Valenciano on

    Question lang po,Pano naman kami na yung bahay ipinamana nang Biyenan ko, OO nga malaki ang bahay at pero kami na nakatira dun low income earner lang na ang net na sweldo kada kinsenas P6000 lang. Pano kami magbabayad pa ng amilyar? From P2500 per quarter, ang magiging amilyar P7500 na per quarter? Paano pa mag aaral ang mga anak namin, tuition, baon, pagkain, uniform, books, pamasahe. Ako lang ang nagtratrabaho. Ano ho ba ang gagawin namin iwanan na lang ang bahay, kasi malaki ang amilyar? Sa bundok na lang tititra kung saan walang buhay? Ang Akala pa naman namin, Para sa mahirap ang gobyerno? Pero pinapahirapan naman kami. Mr. President Noynoy Aquino, Pwede nio po bang i check muna ang tungkol dito. Hindi na kami kakain sa 200% increase sa amilyar, Nagtratrabaho na lang kami para sa pambayad dito. Please lang po…

  5. would-be-ex-Manila-citizen on

    The assessor told me that they re-computed based on the present value and condition of property. for our condo that was advertised as low-cost, the factor they set was 2.9 times the previous market value. This means an almost triple increase!

    But you don’t get a chance of knowing how this “2.9” came about, nor on any document or ordinance to back it up. Nor do they give any basis on how the final RPT is computed. Remember, Manila City has no official website where it’s constituents get informed.

    I also cannot accept why Residential condo is given an assessment level of 60%!
    This is much more than the upscale condos of Makati and Fort. Also, you don’t see the basis of this in any document posted anywhere.

    If this would make it clearer where my rant is coming from:
    42 sqm condo
    Property tax (2013) = 5,000
    Property tax (2014) = 14,000

  6. welcome to the real world, what is the value now of property and against the old value is something you as a nation are slow on the up take. You are living in a major city which is booming as is the property market meaning values rise quickly of property.
    If you look at other major cities then you can come to terms with reality and see that in fact Manila has a lot of catch up to do with other cities in Asia and the rest of the world when it comes to the value of a city property. This is good for some as it means they now have a asset which has shot up in value which is keeping in line with the economics of your city. What needs to be more included and as I saw the mayor of Quezon recently do is start to hit the Joe public for rates tax for Rubbish collecting, lighting fire service and police start paying for what you use and against a true value of a modern day city. Stop the whine and start realizing the Philippines has joined the real world of bustle and hustle.

  7. sir I also have something to say about this …
    from where did they base to upraise the real estate tax …
    they said in the news paper last year in the Inquirer forgive me if i may relate other news papers …
    that they did not really impose a new Tax on the estate but instead updating the market value of the real estate …
    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/533579/after-20-yrs-manila-raising-business-tax-fees-land-values
    but in the assessment that i just got this afternoon in the manila city hall …
    one of our Land estate with a market Value of 158,400 on the year 2005 Goes higher with a “jaw drooping” market value of 648,000 !!! its morethan 4 times Higher than the original market value on the year 2005 !!!
    Its like hiding the true motive of making the tax higher but with the intention of really not making any discussion to make it lower than expected …
    another real estate of ours with a previous assessment of 242,650 on the year 2005 ….
    Now They Give us an Assessment of 1,073,590 ,,,,
    My Question is How do they compute to come up to such Big figures for us to pay froms small figures from the previous Tax Declaration ?