FINANCE SECRETARY Carlos G. Dominguez III urged the Senate to pass a real property valuation reform measure in time to address right-of-way-issues that could delay infrastructure projects in the pipeline for 2020.
In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Dominguez said he hopes the Senate will act on its version of the Real Property Valuation Reform bill which the House of Representatives approved last week in the form of House Bill (HB) No. 4664.
Aside from resolving right-of-way issues, a common source of delay in public works where the government has agree with landowners on an appropriate level of compensation, Mr. Dominguez said the measure will generate additional revenue for local governments, “stimulate the real estate market” as well as attract investment.
During recent committee deliberations, Representative Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda of the second district of Albay said right-of-way acquisition will continue to delay the implementation of “Build, Build, Build” projects without a credible valuation system.
The measure proposes the use of a uniform schedule of market values (SMVs) for right-of-way acquisition, to adopt a real property valuation standards on par with international standards and develop a single valuation for the taxation of land transactions, among others.
Mr. Salceda, who chairs the House committee on ways and means, said the case of Evergreen Manufacturing against the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) ran from 2000 to 2017 due to lack of agreement on valuation.
Infrastructure delays in 2019 due to the late passage of the 2019 budget have been blamed for dampening economic performance.
On the sidelines of an event in Parañaque City on Wednesday, Rep. Edgar Mary S. Sarmiento of the first district of Samar said a court administrator at a recent committee meeting promised to designate courts in various parts of the country to specialize in right-of-way issues.
“Maglalagay ang court ng specific branch to address ‘yung right of way issue (courts will be designated to address the right-of-way issues)… That was the commitment to us by the court administrator,” Mr. Sarmiento said in a chance interview.
HB 4664 represents the third package of the administration’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP).
“At present, LGUs prepare the SMVs, which is just one of many conflicting values currently used for various government purposes and private transactions. SMVs are also often outdated and set without standard technical procedures, leading to an eroded real property tax base for LGUs,” the Finance department said in its statement. — Beatrice M. Laforga