MSBF site owned by NHA, improvements by QC

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This is in response to Neal Cruz’s columns about the alleged inaction of the National Housing Authority (NHA), which led to the auction of the property occupied by the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation (MSBF) and the takeover by the local government of Quezon City.

NHA is the owner of the 7-hectare property located at the corner of Edsa and Quezon Avenue. (NHA is until now the owner of this property.) When President Ferdinand Marcos granted MSBF usufructuary rights to the property, MSBF and/or its tenants erected structures and introduced improvements on the property. In the view of the QC government, these structures and improvements are subject to real property tax. MSBF and its tenants, however, did not declare the improvements for taxation purposes and no tax declaration was issued covering these improvements. Only the land owned by NHA is covered by a tax declaration, although NHA pays no real property tax on the land because of its exemption under Republic Act 7279 and in light of rulings rendered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Land Registration Authority.

The QC government issued notices of assessment and delinquency, sold the improvements at a public action and consolidated its ownership over the improvements made by MSBF and the tenants. In each of the actions taken by the QC government, NHA wrote several letters (dated June 24, 2011, March 5, 2012, June 4, 2012, and Aug. 13, 2012) asserting and maintaining that it is not bound to pay real property tax on the land and that, if at all, it is MSBF that should be paying the taxes on the improvements thereon. Indeed, NHA considers that it is only a nominal party to the actions taken by the QC government, and does not consider its ownership of the lot to have been adversely affected.

NHA’s general manager, Chito Cruz, cannot be faulted for neglect of duty, much less for conspiring with the QC government. NHA continues to make representations with Quezon City, consistent with its position that it remains the owner of the 7-hectare property.

—MARY JOY DE GUZMAN-BAYBAY,

Legal Department,

National Housing Authority

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