Members of the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers (ACT) staged a silent protest at the plaza of Passi City in Iloilo over the weekend to oppose an increase in the taxes imposed by the local government.
Holding and waving placards, the group expressed dismay over a new city ordinance hiking taxes, particularly the real property tax. Its members alleged that city officials railroaded the passage of the ordinance, saying this did not go through public hearings.
Rocky Camiña, a member of ACT, said that residential and commercial areas in Passi have been re-assessed and taxes on these properties were jacked up from 5 to 12 percent or P7,000 to P14,000 per square meter.
In a dialogue with ACT, city councilor Noe Lico argued that this was the first time that the local government of Passi increased taxes since it became a component city in 1998.
Lico added that the city's realty tax is much lower than the average 15 percent being charged by the province of Iloilo.
But Lico failed to convince the protesters, who demanded for a tax rollback.
The ACT said it will meet again to work on a position paper they will submit to the city government regarding the issue. -- With a report from Jennifer Garcia, ABS-CBN Iloilo