Legazpi City Mayor Noel E. Rosal  (PNA file photo)

LEGAZPI CITY – The city government here is set to receive an award from the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) for being No.1 on the list of top-performing cities in the country in terms of local revenue generation/collection.

The city exceeded by 161.2 percent the targeted tax collection in 2019, or before the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Closely tailing on second spot is Valenzuela City with collection exceeding by 154.4 percent; followed by Sta. Rosa City, Laguna, 145.9 percent; Cebu City, 145.1 percent; Parañaque City, 137.6 percent; San Fernando City, La Union, 137.4 percent; Navotas City, 133.3 percent; Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, 132.2 percent; and Mandaue City, Cebu, and Lucena City, 131.7 percent.

Mayor Noel Rosal, in an interview on Thursday, attributed the high revenue collection to the city’s innovations in tax collection schemes, particularly its e-payment using automated teller machine (ATM) credit and debit cards through the facilities of the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

“All the owners of real property and business operators in this city are now paying taxes through online e-payment services. We believe that through these online services, we are able to improve a lot of our local revenue collections as these are also providing convenience to our taxpayers,” he said.

Rosal said the city bagged the number one spot in local tax collection because “we passed the criterion prepared by the BLGF such as the locally sourced revenue including collection efficiency and year-on-year growth in locally sourced revenue (LSR).”

City Treasurer Carlita de Duzman said the adoption of the Enhanced Tax Revenue Assessment and Collection System (ETRACS) and the implementation of the Geographic Information System (GIS) helped a lot in the improvement of local tax collection in the city.

ETRACS is an automated assessment of taxes and other business fees while the GIS produces thematic layers for planning and identification of delinquent taxpayers and business operations.

De Guzman said the BLGF under the Department of Finance (DOF) placed a tax collection target of PHP439.83 million for Legazpi in 2019, but Legazpi collected PHP708.96 million.

She noted that the continuously increasing number of giant investors and other business establishments operating in the city of Albay province for the past several years has also contributed to the hefty tax haul.

De Guzman said her office is always reminding taxpayers by airing messages in the local radio stations to pay their taxes on time to avoid penalties.

“We are just waiting for the notice from the BLGF regional office to receive the certificate of recognition,” de Guzman noted.

The awarding of the top-performing cities in local revenue generation for 2019 was stalled for over a year due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. (PNA)