Newks Files Appeal to DOJ on Legality of Bacolod Ordinance
Just a few days before the deadline set by law; local businessman Monico Puentevella yesterday filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) an appeal to question the constitutionality and legality of Bacolod City Ordinance No. 565, series of 2011, otherwise known as "An Ordinance Approving the Revised Local Revenue Code of Bacolod City."
In a consultation held last January 20, 2012 at the Sea Breeze Hotel in Bacolod City, Puentevella discussed and shared the concerns raised by the business sector relative to the huge increase imposed by the new revenue code.
The gathering was attended by all the major business groups in the city and province among which are the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), the Bacolod Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry’ Inc. (BFCCCI), Hotel and Restaurants’ Association of Negros Occidental (HRANO), Association of Negros Producers (ANP), Bacolod-Negros Occidental Bakers’ Association (BACNOBA), Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association (CREBA), Lopue’s Group of Companies, Association of Negros Occidental Food Processors (ANOFP), officials of Bacolod hospitals, department stores and malls, and local entrepreneurs.
Among those shared were sentiments of businessmen and entrepreneurs on the possibility of transferring their businesses elsewhere if the cost of doing business in Bacolod City is already way beyond their means.
The consensus was arrived at that there is a need to avail of the provision of law that allows a group or any individual to question the tax increase before it becomes irreversibly binding.
Puentevella also met with representatives of the transport sector who also lamented the sizeable increase in the taxes that they will be paying the city as a result of the ordinance.
"The sentiment was unanimous and collective. Our business community does not oppose increasing taxes because we know that it is necessary for the development and progress of our city. What we are questioning is the huge incremental increase that is being imposed. The law only allows a maximum tax increase of 10% every five years and we feel that it is reasonable.
The new revenue code, however, mandates a whopping 700% business tax increase for retailers 400% for private hospitals 300% for wholesalers, distributors and dealers.
Meanwhile, if you are contemplating on putting up a new business this year, you are required to pay 400% more in business taxes compared to last year’s tariff for newly established business," Puentevella stressed.
"This means that for our local businesses to survive, some, if not most, of the tax increase will be passed on to consumers who will ultimately bear the brunt of the tax hike.
Taken from the perspective of ordinary Bacoleños who are already reeling from the effects of the almost weekly rise in the cost of fuel, this would result to unnecessarily paying more for the hospitalization and medicines when one is sick, paying more when buying our basic necessities, and paying more for doing business in our city. For example, if you are paying P1,000 a day for your hospitalization, there is a big possibility that the next time you get sick, the cost would be double or triple, and that is unfortunate," Puentevella adds.
Recently, the Federation of Bacolod City Tricycle Operators’ and Drivers’ Association (FEBACTODA) staged a protest decrying the drastic rise in the taxes that they will be paying in order for them to ply their routes. As early as now, there are already clamors for increasing transport fares to anticipate the impact of the new tax code requirements.
In the meeting with business leaders, Puentevella clarified that he is willing to take a supportive role in his capacity as a local businessman if a group or an individual is willing to raise this matter up with the DOJ. He stressed that in order to avoid the expected "political motive" line that will be taken by the city administration if he files the appeal, he is more than happy to step aside and let the business sector take the frontline.
However, in the event that an appeal/complaint is not yet perfected a few days before the day 30-day deadline set by law, Puentevella expressed his willingness to take up the cudgels on behalf of the business community and ordinary consumers.*