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Co-opted association

12:02 AM January 16, 2017

Our homeowners’ association in Quezon City belongs to the Association of Quezon City Homeowners’ Associations Inc. (AQCHAI), a federation organized supposedly to give village/subdivision homeowners all over the city a collective voice.  But recently, its office has not been heard from. Not even a word on the revolting increase in real property tax (RPT). And now its contact number and e-mail address are out of commission.

TV/radio commentator Ted Failon raised a red flag on the Quezon City government’s imposition of a higher RPT despite its admission that it still has plenty of tax money (from past year’s gross income of about P19 billion) sitting idly in banks, unused for truly meaningful projects to improve the lives of its constituents.

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Failon, himself a village homeowner, mentioned a group that is planning to initiate “recall” proceedings to kick Mayor Herbert Bautista out of office for ramming the new legislation down the throats of an overwhelming number of unhappy QC taxpayers. In his seventh State of the City Address, Bautista threw up a lie: “Much as we do not like to burden our taxpayers, this (RPT) adjustment is a requirement of law. . . ordered by the Department of Finance.”

We have gone over the Local Government Code (Republic Act No. 7160) and we found nothing in its provisions “requiring” (i.e., commanding) local government units to increase realty taxes correspondingly based on its revision of the schedule of realty market values. In other words, a revision in realty market values (which is what the LGC requires to be done periodically) does NOT necessarily require an upward adjustment of realty taxes. The matter of  such “adjustment” is left entirely to the discretion of the local government unit—at the risk of public outrage.

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The DOF “order” is merely a “suggestion”—if there is a need for more revenues, which presently is not true with QC.

Stephen  Monsanto is right: We have been duped and deceived by our city officials (QC taxpayers hornswoggled— again,” Opinion, 12/27/16).  It does seem the RPT is being raised just for the heck of raising it and not because the QC government is in dire straits.

That is really the problem when elective officials have become so entrenched by the votes of those who do not pay taxes. Being lesser in number, those who pay taxes are simply taken for granted. It is time we, QC taxpayers, show Bautista we have lost confidence in his leader-ship—miserable as it is already.

A recall election requires

only 10 percent of the voting population like Quezon City, provided no less than 45,000 sign the petition. Irate and disgusted taxpayers in subdivisions/villages belonging to AQCHAI (and non-affiliates) account for more than 10 times that percentage and number. And even if a recall election gets Bautista redeemed, the message  will be made clearer: He should stop messing around with QC taxpayers who are the ones footing the bill for the extravagance and frequent junkets abroad of City Hall officials.

Alas, by the deafening silence of AQCHAI officers, are we to think that they have been co-opted and are now in cahoots with City Hall officials?

MELISSA SY-QUIATAN, [email protected]

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TAGS: AQCHAI, Association of Quezon City Homeowners' Associations Inc., Herbert bautista, Inquirer letters, Melissa Sy-Quiatan, Quezon City real property tax, Stephen Monsanto, Ted Failon
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