Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal (PNA file photo)

LEGAZPI CITY – The Legazpi City government on Tuesday received awards from the Department of Finance (DOF) as the No. 1 top-performing city in the country in terms of local revenue generation and collection and No. 9 in year-on-year-growth in Local Sourced Revenue (LSR).

In an interview on Wednesday, Mayor Noel Rosal said he 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.

The Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) under DOF pegged a tax collection target of PHP492.32 million for Legazpi in 2020 but the city collected PHP710.09 million, which exceeded the target by 144.2 percent even amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Rosal, together with City Treasurer Carlita de Guzman and City Assessor’s Office chief Eduardo Luna Jr., received certificates of achievement from BLGF Bicol regional director Anastacia Llaneta during a simple ceremony held at the bureau's office here.

He said the city bagged the top 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).”

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

She said her office is always reminding taxpayers to pay their taxes on time to avoid penalties by airing messages on the local radio stations. (With report from Connie Calipay/PNA)