Farmers assail failure to pay RPT

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — A member of the Pamisanmetung Da Ring Ortelanu Ning San Fernando on March 28 slammed the city government after it failed to pay Real Property Tax (RPT) for their property in Barangay Sta. Lucia.

In a press conference, Orlando Salvador complained against the cancellation of the titles and tax declarations of their farmlands without proper notice. 

The property is owned by 28 farmers and it is at least 53 hectares.

“This morning (March 28), I went to the city hall to pay my real property tax but it was not accepted by the City Assessor’s Office.

They told me it was cancelled. I asked them why and their only answer is that the owner asked for its cancellation), Salvador said in the dialect. “I am here because I have proof.”

Salvador said he was able to pay the RPT for the same land in 2017.

In 2018, he added, he was not able to pat due to lack of money.

He stressed that the land was awarded to them by the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR) and they were diligent in paying its dues to
ensure that it will not be invalidated.

Under the law, a property can be considered tax-delinquent and may be
up for public auction if the owner failed to settle its RPT.

The group alleged that payment of  RPT was “being manipulated by investors who team up with local leaders in forcing land owners to sell their properties.”

“We will not sell property,” they stressed.

In a separate interview, Luz Bautista, head of the City Assessor’s Office (COA) here, said that their refusal to accept Salvador’s payment for RPT is due to the implementation of a Supreme Court order served to them in 2018.

She disclosed that Salvador and the group of farmers have a  land
dispute with a Whitaker family, who originally owned the property.

He added that the case must be addressed in the court and not at the CAO
or the city government.

“This land dispute problem goes way back. The Whitakers have been dealing with this concern ever since and just recently, they brought an order from the Supreme Court to cancel the farmers’ emancipation patents (EPs),” said Bautista in the dialect.

“We don’t want to be charge with contempt of court that’s why we follow the Supreme Court order,” she added.

Bautista said that the CAO only cancelled the properties’ tax declaration in compliance with the said court order but were not responsible and do not have the power to cancel any land titles.

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