Besieged Iloilo power utility pays P135M in realty taxes, averts auction of assets
ILOILO CITY—The Panay Electric Company (Peco) on Monday, Dec. 9, paid nearly P135 million in real property taxes to the Iloilo City government, three days before the scheduled auction of some of its properties for purported tax delinquencies.
In separate statements, Peco and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas confirmed the payment covering Peco’s tax liabilities from 2016 to 2019.
A statement released by the city public information office cited the total amount paid as P134 million while Peco said it paid a total of P134,927,522.63.
Treñas in the statement welcomed the settlement of the tax liability.
“This is a welcome development for us,” said the mayor.
He said the funds were to go to “much improved social services and other initiatives.”
Treñas in November said some of Peco’s assets were among the properties set for auction on Dec. 12 for being delinquent in payment of taxes estimated at P90 million.
The taxes cover those levied on Peco’s electric poles standing on land owned by the city government.
Peco said the amount it paid excluded interests and penalties subject of two cases filed at the Local Board of Assessment Appeals.
“Now that Peco has paid the tax liabilities assessed by the city government of Iloilo, there is no more reason to proceed with the planned auction,” said Marcelo Cacho, Peco head of public engagement and government affairs.
Cacho said Peco has “always been willing to amicably settle” its tax cases and disputes with the city government. He noted that Peco had paid in advance until Dec. 31 of this year.
He said that out of the nearly P135 million paid, around P60 million was for the principal amount of their realty tax obligations which is subject of one tax case, No. 2017-01.
Around P75 million was payment for their realty taxes subject of another tax case, No. 2019-01.
Cacho said Peco filed the first tax case in 2017 questioning the realty tax assessment issued in 2016.
“Peco never opposed the paying of new property taxes,” said Cacho.
“We just wanted clarification on why suddenly we get slapped with an unfair ten-year back-tax assessment,” he said.
Peco’s franchise expired on Jan. 18 but the Energy Regulatory Commission had granted a provisional Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to Peco to continue distributing power in Iloilo City to prevent any disruption of power supply to consumers amid Peco’s continuing legal dispute with More Power Electric Corp. (More Power)
More Power, which has been granted a 25-year franchise, is seeking to expropriate Peco’s distribution assets which triggered a legal showdown between the firms.
Edited by TSB
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