Last week, we in the city government of Manila declared a general tax amnesty program that took effect Oct. 1, 2021 and will be in force until Dec. 29, 2021.
This is contained in Ordinance No. 8773, which grants amnesty on all delinquent business taxes, real property taxes, regulatory fees and other service charges. The said ordinance was approved by the Manila City Council headed by Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna as its presiding officer.
The current pandemic has brought about unexpected socio-economic challenges to the country and as a result, many businesses have remained closed, further causing the loss of jobs and opportunities.
Amidst the health and safety challenges is the struggle to keep one’s livelihood afloat.
This situation makes it difficult for taxpayers to settle their obligations with the city and as a consequence, these unpaid impositions have incurred surcharge and penalty interests.
Under the said ordinance, all corresponding accrued surcharge and interest penalties which any delinquent tax, regulatory fee or service charge may have incurred shall be deemed waived upon full payment of the principal amount of the basic tax, fee or charge within the period of effectivity of the Code.
Tax amnesty shall be granted to the following: Persons who own, operate or are engaged in any business enterprise within the City of Manila; persons who own or administer real property declared for the first time subject to back taxes; persons who own or administer any delinquent real property with or without notices of collection and persons who have pending local tax cases before any judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative body concerning local business taxes, fees and charges or real property taxes.
Also included in the amnesty are those who have violated traffic and parking rules imposed under the Manila Traffic Code and the No Contact Apprehension Program.
This comes as good news to drivers of cars, jeepneys, trucks and taxicabs who have thousands upon thousands of pesos to settle as penalties for repeated traffic violations in the city of Manila. Said violators will just have to pay for their first violation and need no longer worry about the accompanying penalties, interests and surcharges.
Prior to the passage of the said ordinance, some operators have sought the help of the city government through the office of city administrator Felix Espiritu, after their drivers accumulated bills amounting to as big as P600,000 toP800,000 in traffic violations alone.
Based on the request, I talked to Vice Mayor and Manila City Council Presiding Officer Honey Lacuna to come up with a city ordinance that would include in the grant of amnesty the said violators.
Actually, our hands are tied on the matter since the rules on violations are covered by certain laws that need to be amended.
It is notable that many drivers repeatedly violate traffic regulations and disregard traffic lights if they see no traffic enforcer around, not knowing that their violations are recorded automatically once caught by installed cameras.
The non-contact apprehension was designed to eliminate human intervention and accusations of extortion and under the system. The city cannot even give any discount due to the existing tax and traffic code.
Recidivists, or those who have repeated violations and penalties, whether they were issued tickets or billed in their home address after being caught via non-contact apprehension, will now just have to pay their first violation.
As such, there will be no more need to pay the penalties, surcharges and interests that were accumulated. This is the second time that such an amnesty had been given by the city government for motorists.
This is our small way of showing concern for the motorists, although we still call on them to stop violating traffic rules and regulations in the city so as to avoid having to pay for such violations.
Be it known that the city government is not after the penalties but letting everyone know that rules must be observed so as to put order in the streets.
Certainly, we are not happy to penalize anyone but order has to be put in the streets for the greater good of the greater majority.
Gaya ng paulit-ulit kong sinasabi, kailangan ko ang tulong ninyong lahat. Walang mag mamalasakit sa Maynila kundi tayo ding mga Batang Maynila. Manila, God first!
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