By Billy Begas
House Committee on Ways and Means chairperson Joey Salceda on Wednesday urged the Senate to pass the property reform bill, which is the third package of President Rodrigo Duterte’s comprehensive tax reform program.
Salceda said his proposed Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform (RPVAR) bill will benefit local government units (LGUs) and government infrastructure projects.
“The problem with faulty land valuation is that when government acquires right-of-way, things get litigious. We have to settle cases in court. That delays projects significantly, and it delays economic growth from the completion of those projects,” Salceda said.
Salceda also asked the Department of Finance to submit to the Senate its proposed amendments.
The House approved the measure in 2019.
Salceda explained that under the current system, LGUs conduct valuation of properties for tax purposes, on top of some 20 or so other agencies that conduct separate valuations.
He said the different valuations create confusions resulting in court cases especially over right-of-way payments which delays construction of infrastructure projects.
He said LGUs also failed to collect higher real property taxes due to low valuation.
“False land valuation for tax purposes is a subsidy to the rich. LGUs can always value properties correctly and set the tax rates to zero for small landholdings, farms, and residences. But keeping land values low for the rich is a giveaway. Remember, real property taxes are this country’s only wealth tax,” Salceda said.
Salceda sais LGUs can use additional property tax revenue to push certain policies.
“Condominiums, tenements, and high-density properties should be taxed at much lower rates than, say, low-density exclusive villages in Metro Manila. That way, you push people to make better use of land. Green spaces, parks, and areas of civic activity should be exempt. Property taxation is a good way to reshape society and make it more equal,” Salceda explained.