Council won’t stop Mike’s bid to raise property taxes further

THE Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cebu City will not challenge and try to override Mayor Michael Rama’s veto on the revised real property tax (RPT) code ordinance it approved on Dec. 30, 2022.

But a city councilor hopes that the new tax rates that will be reintroduced by the executive department will be “reasonable” and not burdensome to the general public.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, Councilor Noel Wenceslao, chairman of the committee on budget and finance, said the Council has agreed not to override Rama’s veto and just tackle the RPT code revision once it is reintroduced to the Council in the coming weeks.

On Feb. 6, 2023, Rama vetoed the ordinance approved by the City Council revising the RPT code, saying it does not express the true values of properties and deprives the City Government of a proper source of funds.

Taxpayers’ appeal

Wenceslao, author of the ordinance, said the mayor was right in saying that the approved revisions do not provide the current and fair market value (FMV) of real properties prevailing in the locality as basis for the computation of the RPT.

The original recommendation of the city’s Local Finance Committee (LFC) was to use the 2023 FMV as basis for the RPT computation, but the City Council approved the use of only 50 percent of that, Wenceslao added.

“Ang among gibuhat ato, because of the appeal of the tax paying public, dako man gud kaayo og diperensya ang 2004 (FMV) sa current fair market value so ang amoang gibutang ngadto is only 50 percent of the current market value will be considered for tax purposes,” said Wenceslao.

(The difference in the fair market value today from 2004 was so big that because of the appeal of the tax paying public, we put there that only 50 percent of the current market value will be considered for tax purposes.)

Wenceslao explained that based on the originally proposed revision by the LFC, a property owner who usually pays an RPT of P10,000 per year will now have to pay around P300,000 should the City Government fully implement the current FMV and make it the basis for the appraisal and computation of the RPT due.

“I hope nga ang ilang i-introduce nga proposal will be reasonable for the tax paying public because ang amoang gi tan-aw ang (what we are looking at is the) reasonableness… Most of our businessmen and the people are still recovering from the two-year pandemic and Typhoon Odette (Rai),” said Wenceslao.

Typhoon Odette struck Cebu on Dec. 16, 2021.

Jerone Castillo, special assistant of Rama for fiscal matters, recently said the current RPT Code being implemented in the City can generate a net revenue of P700 million, while the approved revision can give the City a net revenue of only P1.5 billion.

Wenceslao said 30 percent of the gross RPT collected will be given to the barangays as their share and another one percent will be set aside for the Special Education Funds.


Opposition Councilor Nestor Archival told SunStar Cebu last Monday that Rama was not satisfied with the amount of increase that the City Council had approved.

Despite this, Archival said the minority bloc in the council does not want to override the veto of Rama.

To override the veto power of the mayor, a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Council is required.

Archival also hopes that the reintroduced revision won’t be excessive for it might lead to less collection of taxes.

Once the executive department submits the new revision, Wenceslao said it will be entered into the Council as a proposed ordinance and will undergo another series of public hearings.

The ordinance the Council approved last Dec. 30 had sought to update Cebu City’s real property tax code, which had not been updated since 2004.