Pasay mayor asks city council to scrap taxes on dogs, bikesBy Miko Morelos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Reacting to a firestorm of protests online, Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto has asked the City Council to immediately repeal provisions in a 13-year-old local ordinance imposing taxes on the ownership of dogs and bicycles, saying that the levies were unnecessary.
Calixto urged the body to act on the matter after a three-member review panel unanimously recommended scrapping two sections concerning the controversial taxes in the local government’s revenue ordinance, which was enacted in 1999 during the term of Mayor Jovito Claudio.
“There is no longer any need for these taxes because revenue generation has improved,” Calixto said, adding that the city‘s earnings breached the billion-peso mark this year, bringing in P1.5 billion in revenue. “These provisions in our revenue code are outdated and are no longer needed.”
He suspended the collection of the taxes on Wednesday, hours after residents expressed opposition to the levies online immediately after officials announced a plan to start collecting the taxes earlier in the day. A notice to that effect had been posted by City Treasurer’s Office on Wednesday, and it quickly went viral.
Calixto said he formed a review panel composed of City Administrator Dennis Acorda, City Legal Officer Severo Madrona, and Secretary to the Mayor Glenn Agranzamendez to look into the ordinance.
The panel recommended that the offending sections be repealed, prompting the mayor to write to the City Council on Thursday.
According to the mayor, the dog license fee was for the maintenance of a city registry on canines, as well as for annual anti-rabies campaigns and other related programs.
On the other hand, the bicycle license fee was intended to fund the license plates to be issued to bike owners.
In his letter to the City Council, Calixto pointed out that the dog license fee could be scrapped because the city veterinarian’s office was already keeping a database on canines in Pasay.
“The City Veterinary’s Office is already conducting the registration and free vaccination of all the dogs in our city and the corresponding expenses are already covered by the annual budget of the said office,” he wrote.
As regards the bike tax, he said the city could shoulder the cost of the license plates. Charging a levy for owning a bike sent a wrong signal to residents, he added.
“We are encouraging the use of the bicycles as part of our environmental campaign against pollution,” he continued.
To spur the use of bicycles in the city, Calixto said he was looking into possibility of designating bicycle lanes on some streets “to encourage more people to [ride bikes] for good health and to fight global warming.”