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QC Mayor Bautista hails SC on socialized housing tax but…

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista

Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista on Wednesday morning thanked the Supreme Court (SC) for upholding the local government’s socialized housing tax but he will still appeal the legality of the garbage collection fee.

Bautista aired this in an interview with DZRH News via “Damdaming Bayan” (People’s Pulse). It is a landmark decision.

SC or the High Tribunal ordered the QC government to refund its residents the annual garbage fee it was able to impose in January 2014 before a stay order was issued the next month.

“Respondents are hereby directed to refund with reasonable dispatch the sums of money collected relative to its enforcement,” SC Public Information Office Chief Theodore O. Te quoted the ruling during a press briefing on Tuesday.

The decision is based from the petition filed by Kamias Road resident Jose J. Ferrer, Jr., who claimed the garbage fee was tantamount to double taxation because garbage collection is a basic and essential public service that should be paid from local taxes and the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

The Supreme Court, however, rejected this argument, siding with Mayor Herbert Constantine M. Bautista’s explanation that the garbage fee is not a tax and does not count as double taxation.

“Local government units may now ordain SHT to address the six million housing backlog our government needs to address,” Bautista said as he assured QC residents that the ruling won’t solid waste collection in the city.

The annual garbage fee imposed on Quezon City households ranged from P100 to P500 based on the land area occupied by the homeowner. For owners of condominiums and socialized housing units, the charge was between P25 and P200, also based on the size of their dwelling.

Bautista said the 2011 socialized housing tax ordinance imposed a 0.5-percent annual realty tax on the owner of a property with a value of over P100,000. The proceeds, would go to the construction of houses for the city’s informal settlers. (Joel C. Atencio)

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