Why the BIR wants to abolish the cedula

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 08 2013 11:16 AM | Updated as of Apr 09 2013 05:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - While the proposal to abolish the collection of community tax certificates is facing opposition from local government units, Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares reiterated the reasons why the cedula should be scrapped.

In an interview on ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda, Henares said the cedula was initially used as a form of identification, but these days it is no longer applicable.

"First, wala naman ako problema sa pag-impose ng local government ng buwis, kasi meron naman silang authority. Yung concept ng cedula -- ano ba ang rason bakit kumukuha ng cedula? For identification. Wala na naman hong tumatanggap noon as identification... Yung buwis as it is designed, hindi na siya applicable ngayon," she said.

The cedula was first introduced to Filipinos by Spanish colonizers in the 19th century. It was used as an identification card which must be carried at all times.

Henares also questioned whether local governments know exactly how much they collect from the cedula, and if there is a monitoring process to check if the collections are correct.

"Pangalawa, ang objection ko, alam ba ng local government kung ano talaga ang nakokolekta nila dito sa cedula? Kasi tingin ko this is not unknown to people na puede ka kumuha ng cedula at any time sa ilalim ng tulay, kung saan-saan at minsan nakakakuha ka pa ng cedula na walang pangalan, at hindi filled-up," she said.

Henares also noted there are some who do not fill up the cedula properly, putting the correct amount only on the first copy, while the second copy would be left blank and later filled up with a smaller amount.

"The concept of community tax certificate if resident ka ng municipality or city. Kaya lang maraming instance if makikipag-transact ka, kasi may different properties ka sa ibang city, ni-rerequire ka pa rin kumuha ng community tax certificate? Di ba dapat 1 tao, 1 community tax certificate?," Henares pointed out.

"Siguro dapat may redesign... Another minor objection ko, national government gumagastos pero di naman pumupunta sa national government," she added.

LGUs express opposition

However, local government units are opposed to the scrapping of the cedula.

Paranaque mayor Florencio Bernabe, Jr. said the community tax revenues in their city alone amounts to P15 million a year, which will be hard to replace, once the tax is scrapped.

But Bernabe admitted the payment of community tax for residents has become optional instead of mandatory. He added LGUs should be stricter in monitoring the payment of community tax.

"Pag ini-scrap natin yun cedula tapos mag-iisip tayo ng panibagong mode of collection to compensate for that. Ang mga tao sensitive yan sa increase in taxes, sa new taxes... Kaya ang proposal namin, pabayaan na lang yan. I-improve na lang yun monitoring para ma-increase, para walang mawala," he said on ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.

Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo earlier said only Congress can abolish, amend or repeal the collection of community tax, which is a mandate under the Local Government Code. - With ANC