Celso: ‘What is needed is strong political will’ PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 March 2016 13:39

The Bureau of Internal Revenue, Revenue Region No. 15, Zamboanga City launched its 2016 Tax Campaign yesterday February 29, 2016. District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat was one of the guests invited to give an inspirational message during the program.

In his message, Lobregat congratulated the BIR on a national level for doubling its collections in the last six years. Also Lobregat cited the figures that the BIR target collections for 2016 is Php 2.025-thrillion. The budget for 2016 is Php 3-thrillion.

Lobregat also cited that the city government was able to increase the valuation of real property tax twice during his administration. It was not because he wanted to burden the Zamboangueños with additional taxes but because the valuation was not increased for 12 years prior to his administration and the valuation of real property was unrealistic and very far from the market values. In fact, the valuation of real property in Zamboanga was lower than Pagadian and Dipolog City considering that Zamboanga City is the only highly-urbanized city in the region.

At that time, some people were saying that this would be a political suicide but Lobregat always stated that “if he had to choose between doing what is right and what is popular, he would always choose to do what is right”. Lobregat stated that what is needed is political will.

The first increase was during his first term. And the second increase was on the third term. At that time, some people were commenting to leave the problem of increasing the valuation to the incoming mayor but Lobregat said “Why burden the incoming mayor with a problem that can be solved now”?

Because of the financial and fiscal reforms initiated by the Lobregat administration, the city has been able to sustain being the richest city in Mindanao and has improved from being the 6th richest city in the entire country to being the 5th richest city in the country.

Inspite of the 2013 Zamboanga Siege and the long hours of brownout, Zamboanga has survived and is still the richest in Mindanao due to the strong foundation firmly cemented by the past administration. This is one legacy that the Lobregat administration left behind.

Lobregat ended his message by stating “what is needed is strong political will”

A Signing of Pledge of Commitment was also part of the program and Congressman Lobregat was one of the signatories representing the First District of Zamboanga City. The Pledge of commitment is a gesture of the representatives of the different sectors, to support the tax programs and activities of Bureau of Internal Revenue, Revenue Region No. 15, Zamboanga City.

Also present during the signing of Pledge of Commitment were Atty. Gian Polo Enriquez (Integrated Bar of the Philippines), Atty. Edita Bola (Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants), Dra. Zaida Urao (Zamboanga City Medical Society), Engr. Georgino Ramos (Las Contratistas de la Ciudad de Zamboanga) Atty. Mary Joy Arcudio (Zamboanga Real Estate Board, Inc.) Mr. Edwin To (Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc.) (Lea LM)