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Sangguniang Panglungsod bottleneck leaves Malolos with outdated tax code

by Allan Yves Briones

Malolos city council officials’ “inaction” and lack of initiative have not only resulted in revenue shortfalls, but also have the potential to shelve priority projects and prevent further local economic growth.

In the 2018 annual audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) pointed out that the city government of Malolos, Bulacan still makes do with revenue codes enacted as far back as 1999.

Malolos’ Local Revenue Code, General Revision of Property Assessment and Economic Enterprise Revenue Code are 15, 20 and 14 years old, respectively, which have affected the attainment of target revenue collections in the previous years – with an undercollection of P475.19 million in the previous year alone.

The same was observed in 2017 with actual collections falling short of the target by P472.76 million, and in the year before that to the tune of P272.83 million.

Source: 2018 Annual Audit Report on the City of Malolos

“With the passage of time along with the rising cost of governance, there is a need to improve the revenue collection performance of the government,” COA explained to Malolos officials, reminding them of Section 191 of the local government code which allows tax rates adjusting once every five years.

According to Malolos officials, as stated in the report, revenue updating requirements have already been met and submitted to the Office of the Sangguniang Panglungsod, but have remained pending “for unknown reasons.”

COA advised the city government to coordinate with the city council to enact ordinances updating their revenue codes, or at least set a “realistic forecast” of revenues to avoid budget and cash overdraft.