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Wag maging palamon! Guimaras Gov Gumarin tells town mayors to improve tax collection

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Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin has called on officials of five municipalities to improve their tax collection as he expressed apprehension over the province’s too much dependence on its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share.

In his State of the Province Address (SOPA) delivered during the special session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) on Wednesday, Gumarin said there is a need to “maximize the use of our funds” for offices to accomplish their targets to achieve their goals.

“There is a need to find ways to increase our locally sourced revenue, thereby decreasing our IRA dependency and giving us leg-room to maximize our potentials as a province,” he said.

The governor noted that the province’s revenue sources have remained the same in the past two years, except for the IRA that increased by 10.07 percent or from PHP557.56 million this year to PHP613.749 million in 2019.

The Real Property Tax (RPT) is at 2.3 percent; Special Education Fund (SEF), 1.5 percent; other taxes at 0.1 percent; and non-tax revenue from hospital fees at only 0.84 percent.

In an interview, he said losing even just 5 percent or 10 percent of their revenue will bring about problems.

He said for many years, the province has been trained to look into ways to impose regulatory fees.

Vice Governor John Edward Gando, meanwhile, cited the need to look into the collection of RPT, noting that two years ago, out of the 100 percent collectibles, only about 50 percent were paying.

“That is why I have been prodding the treasurer and the legal office to now start the legal process to compel them to really pay as remedies provided for by law for those stubborn or level-headed,” Gando said.

He added that their assessor has been asking them to increase their taxes, but they will just be imposing “additional burden to faithful payers” so it would be better for them to go revisit their tax efficiency collection.

Nonetheless, the governor, in his SOPA, also cited the province’s gains in terms of environmental management, economic development, agriculture, infrastructure and social development.

The province, he said, was recipient of the EXCELL or Local Governance Award of the Department of the Interior and Local Government and conferred with the Seal of Climate Leadership by Greenpeace International.

Towards the end of November, it hosted the gathering of member-cities of the PEMSEA Network of Local Governments as part of the East Asia Seas Congress. (PNA)