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QC’s 20% real estate tax hike DIE HARD III Herman Tiu Laurel 10/28/2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

QC’s 20% real estate tax hike

Herman Tiu Laurel
The Quezon City (QC) mayor has a P500-million pork barrel while every city councilor has a P44-million annual budget. These are over and above the city’s entire budget of P2.7 billion per annum. QC already has one of the highest tax structures in the country. Its residence certificate tax alone is 10 times higher than Makati’s. And even as those in city hall officialdom claim to be pro-poor — the reason they green-lighted this controversial Socialized Housing Tax (SHT) ordinance last Oct. 25 — QC has one of the highest employment taxes in the country.

Quezon City has ordinances taxing everything, including the office coffee maker. It has a tax on household water pumps even if the homeowner, not the local government, has invested in its drilling, installation, and procurement (notwithstanding the fact that the water pump is to be situated within his own property). It has an environmental tax but with no environmental services. It taxes fast food outlets operating in malls that already pay environmental service fees — charges which are then passed on to the mall’s tenants — thereby illegally taxing these small stall owners twice. And the list goes on.

Unfortunately, QC has been virtually under the same city administration since Edsa II; it is expected to continue through several more terms unless its citizens wake up to the truth about the corrupt dynasty that has entrenched itself in city hall.
Although 2010 brought in a change of name in the Mayor’s Office, with the electoral victory of the former vice mayor, comedian Herbert “Bistek” Bautista, for all intents and purposes, the ancien régime continues not only because a very young daughter of the previous mayor is now Bautista’s vice but primarily because the old boys of Sonny Belmonte continue to “rule the roost.”

For instance, the former city treasurer, touted as having generated a P6.5-billion budget surplus, is now the city administrator; while behind the scenes is Taddy Palma whose name elicits from QC Circle locators a raised hand with thumb and middle finger formed into a circle.

In the last elections where the former mayor campaigned for his congressional seat, media were flooded with glowing reports of his surplus of P6.5 billion in the city’s coffers. This one from the Philippine Star, dated June 20, 2010 by Reiner Padua, said, “After nine years of being mayor of Quezon City, congressman-elect Feliciano Belmonte Jr. will be leaving the city government with P6.5-billion cash on hand and in banks.”
Yeah, right!

If there is this surplus in Quezon City trumpeted just a little over a year ago, then why did current Mayor Herbert Bautista, Vice Mayor Josefina Belmonte, and the city council deem it necessary to pass a new real estate tax of P180 million or so, purportedly for “socialized housing” or SHT?

When confronted by this P6.5-billion surplus claim, Mayor Bautista simply denies its existence or says that the entire amount has already been used up for salaries and whatnot — which is highly improbable.
So who is lying, Mayor Bautista or the former mayor and his city treasurer, now administrator Vic Endriga? Can the vice mayor-daughter of Belmonte tell us who the liar is among them?

Mayor Bautista, along with his political caboodle in Quezon City, says the tax is a “measly” 0.05 percent of every P100,000 assessed value of real estate property; but that is deceptive and misleading to the extreme.
Based on the “basic real estate tax” for urban centers in Metro Manila of 2 percent, the tax hike approved by the current QC administration adds 0.05 percent for every P100,000 of assessed value, which means P5,000 in SHT for a P1-million property. This is aside from the P20,000 representing the 2-percent basic tax, which means that the SHT is actually an increase of 20 percent or more!

Many Quezon City civic leaders have gone to the city council hearing to oppose this, with city officials, particularly councilors, not being able to give sufficient and rational justification for the measure. One of the most vehement in imposing this tax hike is the “pro-poor” 4th District Councilor Edcel “Grex” Lagman Jr., son of a prominent House apologist for Gloria Arroyo, leading QC residents and homeowners to shake their heads and say, “So young, so c...”

Then, as if to assuage the anger of taxpayers, the city council promises to rebate this exaction five years later — liars all!

If the city council and administration want to do something right for a change, they can begin by investigating the P6.5-billion surplus of Belmonte that is now nowhere to be found. They should also cleanse themselves of the reeking stink from the 3,000 ghost employees that the new Commission on Audit uncovered in city councilors’ payrolls, amounting to over P200 million a year (which investigation was triggered by our July 15 “Quezon City CoA-llusion?” article).

Further, the city council should investigate the North Triangle urban poor relocation scandal involving hundreds of millions and the “favorite contractor” of Belmonte and a former FVR Finance man alleged to have headed the “QC government’s real property pilferage.”

But instead of doing good for QC residents who are filling their city’s coffers with tax payments, these local politicians prefer to keep milking the city’s taxpayers for their imagined “pro-poor” socialized housing program, which is just an excuse for more graft.

Quezon City residents interested in studying the abuse of their city’s taxes can visit http://www.better-qc.org set up by QC anti-graft crusaders Johnny Chang, Rod Kapunan, Andy Rosales, et al. We understand that court suits are already being prepared against this tax hike. Maybe they might as well consider “Occupy QC Hall” very soon.

(Tune in to Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday to Friday, 5 to 6 p.m. on 1098AM; Talk News TV with HTL, Saturday, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11 p.m., on GNN, Destiny Cable Channel 8 — this week: “Quezon City Homeowners Oppose 20% Real Estate Tax Hike;” visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111028com5.html

Stupid is, as stupid does EDITORIAL 10/28/2011

Stupid is, as stupid does

Click to enlarge
The Palace is taking the whole nation as a fool in trying to attribute the P5 million shopping money it gave officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during the first round of the peace meeting in Malaysia as having been forced out of the negotiators since it was a commitment from the previous administration.

Clearly, it was negotiator Marvic Leonen who handed out the money and commitment or not, there appeared to be no stipulations made on the amount, making it a pure bribe.

The Palace is now trying to make up for what could be a major oversight on the bribe and Noy’s mouthpiece, Edwin Lacierda, is now saying that the MILF would be made to account for the amount.

The amount was plain and simple grease money and Leonen casually dismissed the amount when asked about it in Malaysia, saying it was for the funding of a Muslim foundation and did not say anything about it being a commitment from Gloria Arroyo..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111028com1.html

Unconstitutional and persecutorial FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 10/28/2011

Unconstitutional and persecutorial

Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is so power-struck and getting ready to have her “achievements” by way of persecuting the Arroyos in time for the senatorial elections that she goes to the extent of usurping the power that is reserved for the courts, through her constant issuance of her watch list order and even another order allowing the lifting of the WLO for one to travel abroad.

Not only that. Even as the person — in this instance, Gloria Arroyo, who has been placed under a watch list by De Lima, has already provided the medical certificates, there went De Lima, reportedly insisting on having a third medical opinion before lifting the WLO on Gloria.

Patients have heard of having second medical opinions for them to make certain whether say, one should undergo surgery, or whether the first doctor erroneously diagnosed the patient’s ailment.

But a third opinion? That’s already called persecution..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111028com2.html

The Large Families that rule the world

The Large Families that rule the world

 Some people have started realizing that there are large financial groups that dominate the world. Forget the political intrigues, conflicts, revolutions and wars. It is not pure chance. Everything has been planned for a long time.

Some call it "conspiracy theories" or New World Order. Anyway, the key to understanding the current political and economic events is a restricted core of families who have accumulated more wealth and power.

We are speaking of 6, 8 or maybe 12 families who truly dominate the world. Know that it is a mystery difficult to unravel..... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/business/finance/18-10-2011/119355-The_Large_Families_that_rule_the_world-0/

Opium wars to oil wars

Opium wars to oil wars

by Domenico Losurdo

The imperialist domination in the wake of the Opium Wars.
"The 'alleged' death of Qaddafi is a historic turning point," the leaders of NATO and the West proclaimed in chorus without even bothering to keep its distance from the media production being portrayed as the barbaric assassination of Libyan leader and the shameless lies the heads of the "rebels" uttered. Yes, indeed it is a turning point. But to understand the meaning of the war against Libya in the context of colonialism is far from accurate ...
When, in 1840, the British warships appear before the back of Chinese cities, the attackers dispose of a firepower of thousands of guns and can sow death and destruction on a large scale without fear of enemy artillery, whose range is very small. It is the triumph of the gunboat policy: the great Asian country and its ancient civilization are forced to surrender and begin what Chinese historiography rightly called "the century of humiliation," which ends in 1949 with the coming to power of the Communist Party and Mao Zedong..... MORE


URL: http://english.pravda.ru/hotspots/terror/28-10-2011/119457-Opium_wars_to_oil_wars-0/

Did Arnaiz and Deles err? C.R.O.S.S.R.O.A.D.S Jonathan De la Cruz 10/28/2011

Did Arnaiz and Deles err?

Jonathan De la Cruz
Did our friend Negros Oriental Rep. George Arnaiz err in sponsoring and leading the vote on House Bill 4820 creating the province of Nueva Camarines out of Bicol’s biggest province, Camarines Sur?

This question is being propounded almost as a last minute counterpoint to the bill’s passage during the last congressional session before the break by lawyer Joselito Figuracion, Camarines Sur’s Sanggunian Panlalawigan ( provincial board) secretary. We recall that it was Arnaiz as chairman of the Lower House’s committee on local governments who shepherded the bill through committee and later sponsored it on the floor until it was voted overwhelmingly (229-1) on third reading. That smothered the effort of its oppositors led by incumbent CamSur Gov. LRay Villafuerte and the province’s Fifth District Rep. Sal Fortuno to delay its consideration until they have submitted more information to support their cause..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111028com4.html

The unstable future of a world full of men focus 10/28/2011

The unstable future of a world full of men


NEW DELHI — As the global population hits seven billion, experts are warning that skewed gender ratios could fuel the emergence of volatile “bachelor nations” driven by an aggressive competition for brides.

The precise consequences of what French population expert Christophe Guilmoto calls the “alarming demographic masculinization” of countries such as India and China as the result of sex-selective abortion remain unclear.

But many demographers believe the resulting shortage of adult women over the next 50 years will have as deep and pervasive an impact as climate change.

The statistics behind the warnings are grimly compelling..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20111028com6.html

US says military solution vs MILF won’t be supported By Michaela P.del Callar 10/28/2011

US says military solution vs MILF won’t be supported

By Michaela P.del Callar 10/28/2011

True to form, the US government is again meddling in Philippine affairs.

Through its Washington representative, the US yesterday made it clear that it will not support a military solution to the renewed conflict in Mindanao amid violent attacks against government forces by Muslim rebels, stressing that a peaceful negotiation remains the best option for both sides.

Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt, who was in Manila for a stop-over visit, conveyed this message to Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario at a meeting Wednesday where he called for restraint and adherence to the ceasefire agreement.

“We fully support the government of the Philippines’ efforts to bring security and stability to the southern Philippines, including through the ongoing peace process,” Campbell said in a statement..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111028hed4.html

Despite doleouts, hunger incidence highest since ’09 10/28/2011

Despite doleouts, hunger incidence highest since ’09

Despite the vaunted cash transfer doleouts or the social welfare department’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) the pang of hunger among Filipino households was recorded at its highest since December 2009 with one in five households saying it experienced a day going by with nothing to eat, the results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted between last Sept. 4 and 7 showed.

The question posed was “In the last 3 months, did it happen even once that your family expe-rienced hunger and not have anything to eat?” Those who answered in the affirmative were further asked: “Did it happen only once, a few times, often, or always?”

The survey showed that severe hunger or those who answered often or always among those
who missed out on daily meals was experienced by 3.5 percent of respondents and moderate hunger or those who answered once and a few times of having nothing to eat reached 18 percent..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111028hed5.html

Witnesses in Tentorio murder stonewalling probers By Benjamin B. Pulta 10/28/2011

Witnesses in Tentorio murder stonewalling probers

By Benjamin B. Pulta 10/28/2011

A Justice official yesterday bared that the government’s ongoing probe into the killing of Italian missionary Faustino Tentorio in North Cotabato is being hampered by witnesses unwilling to cooperate with investigators.

Speaking to newsmen, Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III, chairman of the Department of Justice (DoJ) special task force on extralegal killings said they are set to visit the province next week after the long holiday break to personally talk to Fr. Tentorio’s companions at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish.

“I was told that the community has apprehension toward the local authorities there. They don’t want to talk to the military that’s why they are happy that the DoJ will investigate this case,” Baraan said.

“We don’t have a clear lead yet at this point,” he added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111028nat1.html

SC voids GSIS employees retirement plan 10/28/2011

SC voids GSIS employees retirement plan

The Supreme Court (SC) has voided the Retirement Financial Plan (RFP) of the state pension fund agency Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

This was after the SC upheld the Commission on Audit’s (CoA) ruling that GSIS has no authority to provide chunks of benefits to its employees, especially having a P15-billion actuarial deficiency.

In a 32-page ruling dated Oct. 19, 2011 but was released only on Thursday, the SC, through Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro, said that CoA did not abuse its discretion when it ruled that the GSIS employees who received the benefits under the RFP are liable for the return of their disallowed benefits.

Under its resolutions issued in 2003 and 2004, CoA said that while GSIS has the authority to create a financial scheme for its retiring employees, it is limited only to employees who will avail of an early retirement caused by the reorganization in the agency..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111028nat5.html

Group hits Aquino gov’t ‘No Money’ policy for death row OFWs blood money request 10/28/2011

Group hits Aquino gov’t ‘No Money’ policy for death row OFWs blood money request

A progressive overseas Filipino workers’ rights group in the Middle East today scored the Aquino administration’s “No Money” policy for death row OFWs’ blood money, saying “it is brazenly insensitive to the plight of OFWs on death row despite numerous appeal from their families, relatives, fellow OFWs and various OFWs organizations.”

“Comparatively speaking, the Aquino government is much more insensitive to the plight of our OFWs on death row compared to the previous administration,” Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona lamented.

Monterona said despite numerous appeals from the death row OFWs specifically from OFW Rogelio “Dondon” Lanuza and his family, relatives, and friends and pressure from the public and various OFWs organizations, the Aquino government is yet to come up its policy on OFWs blood money.

“The Aquino government provided P5 million for the MILF, while it has nothing to contribute for the blood money of OFWs on death row,” Monterona lamented..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111028nat4.html

Fine utility firms overextending repair of major roads — Magsaysay 10/28/2011

Fine utility firms overextending repair of major roads — Magsaysay

Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay yesterday said not only should contractors be fined for substandard works on government projects but also utility firms that have overextended their works on major roads in the country causing traffic that has inconvenienced commuters throughout Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

“Local governments should sit down with these utility firms and put their foot down because this is affecting their constituents. Usual travel time that takes 30 minutes to one hour is doubled and in some cases tripled because many segments of the roads are being excavated,” Magsaysay said.

Magsaysay added local governments should reassess their agreements with the utility firms and review their deadlines for repair and maintenance works as most have abused these agreements and indiscriminately excavated major segments of the roads that have aggravated the traffic situation in these areas..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111028met2.html

Former VP Guingona’s grandson dies after falling from hotel’s 31st floor 10/28/2011

Former VP Guingona’s grandson dies after falling from hotel’s 31st floor

The Muntinlupa police are conducting an investigation into the death of a grandson of former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. who reportedly died after falling from the 31st floor of a hotel in Muntinlupa City before dawn yesterday.

Southern Police District-Public Information head Chief Insp. Jenny Tecson identified the victim as Martin “Marc” Guingona Lamb, 20, 4th year student of De La Salle University and residing at 29 San Antonio St., Magallanes Village, Makati City.

Martin was a son of Sen. Teofisto Guingona III’s sister Marie Guingona Lamb.

Tecson quoting a report from case investigator SPO2 Rodel Torres said around 2:45 a.m., Martin fell to his death from the 31st floor of the Vivere Suites (formerly Richville Regency Hotel)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111028met3.html

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