Two things that makes the public wish government would do better
posted 7-Jan-2019  ·  
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Two things fell short of the Catanduanes public’s expectations last week.

One was the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approval of an ordinance suspending for one (1) year the implementation of the new Schedule of Market Values of real properties in the province.

Although the provincial board led by Vice Governor Shirley Abundo did its best in passing the ordinance considering it was winding down its business for the year, a lot of taxpayers were dismayed that the moratorium came too late for those who wished to avail of the 20% discount for early birds.

The delay is understandable due to the need to pass the measure in accordance with law as well as the 10-day posting requirement before it can take effect.

The SP, particularly the Committee on Ways and Means headed by PBM Rafael Zuniega, was silent on whether it deems the higher market values and subsequent dearer tax payments affordable and acceptable to taxpayers.

All the honorable members of the board did was to cite the rising inflation on the island and the LMP’s position that the increase will have a negative impact on the collection of real property taxes and on the livelihood of Catandunganons.

With the looming elections foremost in the minds of the reelectionists in the provincial capitol and various municipal councils, the sectors most affected by the real estate tax increase should continue to keep the issue alive in the minds of the electorate.

This way, these concerned public officials would find it hard to avoid the people’s clamor for proper consultation and the conduct of a tax impact study however late it will come.

Another matter that deserves a second look from the government is last weekend’s lifting of storm signals and the subsequent decision of the Philippine Coast Guard to allow vessels to set sail.

The country’s weather agency did not sufficiently explain the fact that the bulk of tropical depression Usman’s rainclouds was to the north of its center.

Although PAGASA as well as the NDRRMC did issue heavy rainfall alerts, most people were unaware that the torrential downpours accompanied by gusts would last for more than a day.

Last Saturday morning when the storm signal was lowered and the PCG lifted the ban on sailing, the sea was still rough and the weather stormy.

In Tabaco, the port officials allowed the fast craft to leave, only to order it to return to port. The other vessel was not allowed to leave despite all its passengers having boarded already. It is fortunate that the trips were cancelled as they could have ended traumatically, or worse, tragically for the passengers.

This state of things would not have happened had PAGASA completed the coastal Doppler radar facility in Agojo, San Andres that was supposed to be completed by now.

It makes one wish this New Year that the weather agency, upon which Filipinos pin their hopes for better forecasting, would move a little faster.

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