Quezon City Vice Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte on Friday apologized to senior citizens and solo parents in the city after Mayor Herbert Bautista vetoed discounts for the sectors in the new ordinance increasing real property tax.
“I am very sorry to our senior citizens and solo parents. We tried our best to appeal to our mayor to reconsider his vetoes through a letter, citing the fact that the reasons given to justify the vetoes were flawed as our legal team argued,” Belmonte said.
On Deccember 13, the City Council headed by Belmonte passed on third and final reading, Ordinance No. 20CC-41 to increase the real-property tax of private lots and basic unit construction costs for buildings and other structures pursuant to the Local Government Code. It also passed the two other ordinances meant to cushion the impact of the tax increases on senior citizens and solo parents, which Bautista eventually vetoed.
PO20CC-175 grants all senior citizens a 10-percent discount on real property tax (RPT).
PO20CC-176 provides a 5 percent RPT discount for single parents.
Belmonte pointed out that the national government recognizes the vulnerabilities of seniors, solo parents and PWDs through laws that grant them benefits and discounts.
“Why can’t the local government do the same, especially since the city is awash with funds and can afford a little compassion,” she asked.
District 3 Councilor Allan Benedict Reyes and District 4 Councilor Raquel Malangen earlier filed appeals with the Office of the City Mayor, asking Bautista to overturn his veto.
Reyes and Malangen said in a statement that revenue foregone if the tax incentives were implemented would be minimal.
The letter also stated that in order not to “prejudice the city’s revenue generating function,” the Council did not adopt the 20 percent discount provided for the elderly by Republic Act 9994 but instead only allowed a 10-percent grant to senior citizens while only 5 percent additional discount was proposed for solo parents.
The councilors also noted in their joint letter that the city government had previously granted three tax incentives to its constituents, of which two had been signed by Bautista himself.
Bautista, however, said the ordinances “would only give a special right to a certain group of people.”