Vendors air gripe vs ‘unfair’ computation

(The Freeman) - February 5, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Some vendors in Mandaue City’s public market yesterday called for a press conference to air their gripe over the city’s alleged inequitable collection of business permit fees and other charges.

Moling Sasing, president of Mandaue Public Market Stallholder Vendors Association (MPMSVA), complained over why the city’s assessment of their gross sales is higher by a hundred percent or more, thus making them pay higher fees.

"Kamahal sa business permit, ug ang nakapait, og mohatag mi sa among gross income, sila’y magbuot kung pila’y ibutang," said Sasing.

Sasing said if a vendor, for instance, has placed P50,000 as her annual gross income for the year, the city would reportedly double or triple the amount which will then become the basis for the computation of their business permit fees and community tax certificate or cedula.

He said the system has pushed them further into hardship, especially that their sales have nosedived since they were moved out of the market building near the Mandaue City Sports and Cultural Complex.

The vendors are now occupying the sides of the sports complex after the market building was condemned because of the damages it incurred from the 2013 earthquake.

Emma Patriarca, 52, a fish vendor and board member of MPMSVA, said a vendor with gross sales of P250,000, for example, has to pay a P6,000 fee for business permit and P255 for cedula.

She lamented how city officials would assess an across-the-board gross sales figure for all vendors in the same section, even if actual sales varied.

The said charges, she added, are on top of the other fees — P10/bucket of fish, P30/stall and P12-P30/electric bulb, depending on the wattage — that the city collects from them on a daily basis.

These are apart from the vendors’ expenses on constructing the stalls and setting up power connection.

Patriarca’s usual display includes two buckets or banyera of fish, but she said it is rare that this gets sold out within the day. She has to close stall at 6 a.m. after selling for three hours since only a few customers drop by during daytime owing to the market’s “inaccessibility.”

Sasing said he already aired this concern last year before the Council Market Committee where he sits as a member, but it has not been acted upon since. They also lobbied their concern before the city’s treasury office also to no avail.

Another vendor, Teresita Calo, 67, appealed to the city officials and asked that they visit them to see their real situation.

She said even with a small store of various goods, she is paying taxes similar to how much owners of grocery stores are paying. To her, this is unfair, especially that most of them depend on loan sharks to keep afloat.

For his part, City Treasurer Regal Oliva said the vendors are given one month to file their tax protests if they have questions on how their operations are assessed.

The period starts on the day of the assessment.

Oliva said their basis for such assessment is the market being an economic enterprise, and the many people who allegedly go there.

Since the vendors cannot provide receipts to prove claims of low sales, he said the CTO must follow its own computation, in the same way other local government units are doing.

Still, the city government is open for a forum with the embattled vendors.

Councilor Jimmy Lumapas, head of the Market Committee, said the vendors are welcome to go to his office to discuss their concerns.

Lumapas, like Oliva, was surprised to learn of the issue, considering that he is reportedly in regular contact with Sasing and the other vendors. (FREEMAN)


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