Mandaue demands taxes from Cebu City abattoir
Kristine B. Quintas/JMD (The Freeman) - October 16, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Mandaue City is demanding P2.9 million payment on real property taxes accumulated over 13 years of Cebu City Abattoir’s operations, the structure being located in a lot at the North Reclamation Area belonging to Mandaue.

This was based on a billing statement sent yesterday to the Office of the Mayor, asking the city to settle within 10 days after receipt the amount incurred from October 10, 2001 to October 10, 2014.

However, the legality of asking payment for real property taxes is being questioned by Cebu City Legal Office and City Treasurer’s Office.

City Legal Officer Gerone Castillo contended that the local government units are exempted from paying real property taxes, citing Section 234 of the Local Government Code.

He further argued that even if the City Abattoir is categorized as an economic enterprise or income-generating department, still the city is exempted from paying taxes.

Likewise, he said a slaughterhouse is one of the mandates of the local government, forming part of basic services.

Castillo stressed that public markets, slaughterhouses and other municipal enterprises cannot be taxed because these provide “basic services” to the constituents that a local government unit serves.  

“Even if it’s an economic enterprise, it’s part of our basic services. How can you tax a basic service?” he asked.

Furthermore, he argued that a local government unit cannot tax beyond a five-year period as stipulated in the provisions of the law, contrary to this case which involves 13 years.

Lawyer Jose Daluz III, executive assistant to the Cebu City mayor, however, claimed that there was a memorandum of agreement entered into by the cities of Cebu and Mandaue sometime in 1989, which governs the current action of the City of Mandaue.

“That’s not possible (asking payment without basis at all). There must be an agreement that would govern their actions or compromise agreement,” he said, adding the agreement, though, has yet to be retrieved.

Castillo and Daluz said they will be reviewing the legality of the move.

“The city will always abide by law. We will comply with their ordinances because we are aware that our abattoir is in their jurisdiction. Let’s see if they really have legal basis to collect from Cebu City,” Daluz said.

City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas somehow doubted the motive of the neighboring city.

“Ngano karon raman naningil nato sa pila ka tuig nga nag-operate ta sa North Reclamation Area?” she asked.

Interestingly, Mandaue’s move came few days after the reported “blame game” over the tremendous flooding experienced in Mahiga Creek’s neighboring areas.

Although he already denied blaming Mandaue for the flooding, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama earlier wanted footbridges and other illegal structures encroaching and obstructing the flow of waterways, Mahiga Creek included, to be removed.

The structures, Rama said, cause the creek to overflow during heavy rains.

Mahiga Creek serves as the boundary between the two cities.

Cuevas said never did the city pay any taxes or fees to Mandaue City. Also, she clarified that the slaughterhouse has permit and other regulatory documents.

No accreditation

Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries Chief Dr. Pilar Romero said the slaughterhouse has not been accredited by the National Meat Inspection Service due to its current location.

Based on NMIS, an abattoir has to be 100 meters away from a residential area to be accredited as double A facility, however, the city slaughterhouse stands within residential premises.

“Never pa na-recognize as accredited abattoir but we practice strict meat inspection process,” she said.

Romero said before the October 15 earthquake last year, over 200 hogs could be slaughtered everyday at the city’s slaughterhouse, aside from the 60 to 65 large animals like carabaos, cows and horses, and dozens of goats.

But now, it can only cater to less than 100 animals as the quake destroyed parts of the facility. — (FREEMAN)

CASTILLO AND DALUZ CEBU AND MANDAUE CEBU CITY CEBU CITY ABATTOIR CEBU CITY LEGAL OFFICE AND CITY TREASURER CITY MAHIGA CREEK MANDAUE MANDAUE CITY NORTH RECLAMATION AREA
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