Two provinces and 14 cities have extended deadlines to pay local taxes but the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) expressed no worry yet about the impact of lower tax take from local governments amid COVID-19 lockdowns.

An updated list made by BLGF, an agency under the Department of Finance (DOF), showed the latest local government units that extended local tax deadlines included those in Biñan City, Davao City, Dumaguete City, Ilagan City, Iloilo City, Koronadal City, Las Piñas City, Makati City, Muntinlupa City, Parañaque City, Pasig City, Quezon City, Tandag City and Valenzuela City and the provinces of La Union and Nueva Viscaya.

Nino Raymond B. Alvina, BLGF executive director, said first quarter local revenue collection would normally constitute at least 45 percent of full-year target.

“But the actual revenues could be lower depending on new policies and tax enforcement mechanisms,” Alvina told the INQUIRER.

Alvina said while the LGUs extended first quarter tax deadlines, there was no revenue loss yet but “only deferred local revenues because they are still due and demandable.”

Alvina said the BLGF was nonetheless revisiting earlier LGU estimates and target collection for fiscal year 2020 because of the pandemic.

For 2020, provincial, city and municipal treasurers nationwide had been tasked with collecting a total of P307.1 billion in revenues from local business taxes (P126.2 billion), real property taxes (P107.2 billion), fees and charges (P43.9 billion) and income from LGU enterprises (P29.8 billion).

Last March, the BLGF allowed the electronic processing and issuance of LGUs’ certificate of net debt service ceiling and borrowing capacity.

Electronic and expedited transactions between the BLGF and local treasurers will facilitate immediate response to LGUs’ requests for credit financing as additional sources of funds for their COVID-19 response.

Alvina said the bureau has yet to receive “actual applications” but expected LGUs to review their list of approved investment plans and priority programs.

If LGUs’ financial capacity was limited for COVID-19 response, Alvina said “they may also consider loans for the purpose.”

“Our bureau would certify the limitations of their borrowings,” he said.

Last Thursday (April 1), the state-run Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) said it was making available to provincial, city and municipal governments P10 billion in emergency loans.

The loans would carry an interest rate of 5 percent per annum and be payable in five years at most with a one-year grace period on principal payment, said Landbank president and CEO Cecilia Borromeo in a statement.

The emergency loan program, Borromeo said, is “Landbank’s way of supporting our LGUs deliver immediate health services, food and basic commodities to their constituents during this crisis.”

“Our LGUs are at the forefront of this adversity,” Borromeo said.

Edited by TSB


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