House pushes for property valuation reforms

MANILAThe House of Representatives approved on second reading a measure seeking to reform the country's real property valuation and assessment system.

According to a statement on Tuesday, the Lower House passed via voice vote House Bill 8453, otherwise known as "The Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform Act."

The bill aims to improve real property valuation for the government by adopting a market-based Schedule Market Value (SMV) to be used as basis of local and national real property taxation.

SMV refers to a table of base unit values for all kinds of real properties within a local government unit (LGU) prepared by assessors.

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, author of the bill, said the problems in real property valuation may be traced to the failure of LGUs to correctly update the SMVs.

Arroyo said the failure to update SMVs resulted in a "stagnant, outdated, and highly-politicized real property valuation" that is inconsistent with the realities of the market economy.

"SMVs have become generally undervalued, and failed to reflect the real market conditions of the real property sectorcausing huge foregone revenues of the LGUs," Arroyo said in her explanatory note.

She said the bill would enable LGUs to achieve stable financial resources and a strengthened local real property tax base to fund service delivery requirements of the LGUs toward transparent governance and increased public performance.

Arroyo added that the bill aims to adopt a more rational administration and management system that fully taps the potential of the real property sector.

The current real property valuation system, she said, is hounded by discrepancies and conflicting land values, which resulted in right-of-way compensation problems, lengthy court litigations, project delays, and unrealized revenues and socio-economic benefits.

"The passage of this bill is earnestly sought as a timely and complementary measure to support the long-term revenue efforts of the government," Arroyo said.

Under the bill, all real properties, whether taxable or exempt, shall be valued or appraised at the market value prevailing in the locality where the property is situated.

The bill proposes to reorganize and strengthen the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) under the Department of Finance to provide the institutional support and accountability to operationalize the reform agenda.

The BLGF is envisioned to oversee all matters relating to real property valuation in the country, while taking the lead in reviewing the SMV of all LGUs.

It shall also monitor compliance of LGUs in the regular revision of their SMVs.

"By doing so, the highly technical function of real property valuation is separated from the political function of taxation. Thus, local officials are insulated from the pressures and political backlash borne out of initiatives to correct and update their respective SMVs," Arroyo said.

The bill seeks to create a Real Property Valuation Service within the BLGF tasked to develop, adopt, and maintain valuation standards compliant with international standards. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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