‘Basic services’ a joke in QC
“SC stops QC tax hike” went a news item (Metro, 4/19/17), reporting that the Supreme Court has restrained the Quezon City government from enforcing an ordinance increasing the land values and real property taxes, which was approved last December. The petition was filed by the Alliance of Quezon City Homeowners’ Associations, Inc. (AQCHAI).
QC taxpayers have already paid the newly assessed taxes before March 31, availing themselves of the 20-percent discount to somehow cushion the effect of the unconscionable increase. What took the AQCHAI so long? It could have filed the petition in January this year when “public hearings” held last year were turning into a farcical exercise in “public consultation.” The temporary restraining order might have been issued before taxpayers got ripped off.
QC Mayor Herbert Bautista is now urging the Supreme Court to resolve that petition “at the soonest possible time so as not to hamper the basic service delivery of the city government.” With the city government awash with cash from past collections, Bautista’s plaint sounded disgustingly hollow. QC is the richest local government unit in the entire archipelago, beating even Makati City in terms of income generation and surplus.
So where has QC taxpayers’ money been going? Largely to the “pork barrels” of its bloated city council whose shameless members help themselves to taxpayer funds to pay for their never-ending stream of tarpaulin advertisements in aid of reelection (“Happy Fiesta,” “Congrats Graduates,” etc., complete with their photoshopped pictures on them), their frequent foreign travels (read: junkets), etc.
But “delivery of basic services”? This has always been a joke in this city where chaos prevails—squatters keep occupying center islands and private property, traffic remains unmanaged, crimes become more rampant, piles of garbage are seldom collected, etc.
NIMFA RINA RICAFORT, email@example.com
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