TACLOBAN CITY – The city government of Tacloban recorded a P152.9 million tax collection during the first half of 2014, surpassing the entire year target but still way below compare to the 2013 collection. From January to June, the city government collection exceeded twice the P72.25 million target for the year, said City Treasurer Zosima Cordaño. However, the 2014 first semester figure is way low than the P379.6 million collection a year ago as the city’s businesses are still reeling from the impact of last year’s supertyphoon Yolanda.

“Many businesses have not yet resumed operation, but the recovery of some establishments was faster than expected. By the end of 2014, we would have a P200 million collection from local taxes. This figure is the lowest in the past decades because the city has been generating P400 to P500 million taxes every year,” Cordaño said.
In 2013, the city earned a P460.57 million in local taxes, making the city less dependent to internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the national government. For this year, Tacloban’s IRA share inched up to P478.5 million from P423.8 million in the previous year.

The city registered the biggest drop in business taxes, fees and other charges from P312.68 million in the first six months of 2013 to P95.96 million. Of the more than 12,900 registered businesses in 2013, only 3,770 have renewed their business permits, based on the records of the City Licensing Office. Real property taxes also declined to P37.88 million from P44.29 million in the previous year. Earnings from economic enterprises went down from P22.65 million in 2013 to P19.08 million this year.

In the second half of 2014, the city government will step up its campaign to generate more local taxes, after the extended June 30 deadline for the renewal of business permits and licenses from the usual January 30. “Our strategy is to send notices to those who have not yet renewed their businesses. Those who are operating, but not paying their obligations, we have been sending warnings,” Cordaño said. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)