Tourism triggers real property boom, Baler’s tax take up by 818%

By Jason de Asis

BALER, Aurora, Feb. 11 (PNA) –The tourism boom has triggered an unprecedented real property hike in this capital town, enabling the municipal government to post a staggering 818% increase in tax collectibles in its 13 barangays.

Mayor Nelianto “Pilot” Bihasa said the municipal government expects an additional Php237.49 million worth of tax to the town’s coffers following the taxable real property assessment conducted by the Municipal Assessor’s Office.

“With this tremendous increase in taxable real properties, it would enable our municipal government to finance its operations, including the delivery of frontline services to our people,” Bihasa said.

Municipal assessor Ramil M. Porqueriño said this year’s real property tax (RPT) assessment was placed at Php237,490,860, up from last year’s measly Php29,031,820 or a whopping increase of Php237,490,860.

Porqueriño said the increase was achieved through monitoring of the taxable residential, agricultural, commercial report on real property assessment, proper implementation of tax laws, efficient tax mapping and business tax inspection and close monitoring of compliance of existing business establishments to existing ordinances, among others.

He said the Bihasa administration has made the increase in the town’s revenue as one of its main priorities by plugging loopholes in tax collection and embarking on a vigorous campaign to appraise and assess buildings, machineries, and other real properties.

He attributed the increase in the booming tourism industry where idle lands being turned into commercial estates.

“As we can see, most residential and idle lands were transformed to commercial properties as shown by the mushrooming of transient houses, constructions of hotels and restaurants, particularly the Costa Pacifica Hotel at Buton Street in Barangay Sabang,” he said, referring to the Sabang Economic Tourist Area (SETA).

Aside from Sabang, also covered by the tax assessment were barangays 1,2,3,4,5 Suklayin, Reserva, Buhangin, Zabali, Pingit, Calabuanan and Poblacion.

Based on the tax assessment, Sabang posted the biggest increase in RPT from a mere Php2,119,200 to Php175,703,240 or an increase of Php173,584,040.

Sabang is where most of the hotels are heavily concentrated and where there is a heavy influx of domestic and foreign tourists.

Suklayin placed second in terms of RPT hike from Php8,159,820 to Php47,430,480 or a difference of Php34,270,660. It is host to big business, transient houses, boarding houses, hotels and banks, including the NE Baler and banks such as Producers Bank and China Bank.

At third was Reserva which RPT rose from Php6,933,310 to Php17,769,810 or a difference of Php10,836,500.

The other barangays and their RPT increases and difference were Barangay 5 from Php2,492,680 to Php13,015,920 or a difference of Php10,523,240; Buhangin (from Php2,603,380 to Php4,776,230 or Php2,172,850 difference); Zabali (from P826,290 to P2,399,210 or P1,572,920); Pingit (from P1,663,190 to P3,048,120 or P1,384,930); Barangay 1 Poblacion from P1,183,660 to P2,250,940 or P1,067,280); Barangay 3 (from P471,970 to P1,219,750 or P747,780); Barangay 4 (from P56,610 to P262,410 or P205,800); Calabuanan (from 1,511,910 to P1,958,360 or P446,450); Barangay 4 (from P56,610 to P262,410 or P2015,800); and Barangay 2 which posted an assessment of P28,200, same as last year. (PNA)