But he must authorize Representatives Tomas Osmeña and and Rachel del Mar of Cebu City’s south and north districts, respectively, to speak with President Benigno Aquino III and finance secretary Cesar Purisima on the matter.
“Osmeña already had solutions to the city’s concerns but the mayor refused to listen. He wanted to make it clear that the mayor is ready to reach compromises,” said Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young.
Young said he wanted to ask Rama through the media to seek help from the two district representatives in resolving the city’s tax exemption concerns because “time is of the essence.”
Rama said in a separate interview that he was not yet giving up on the city’s tax exemption appeal.
“If they wanted to help, they should have done it a long time already,” he said.
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares denied Cebu City’s request to exempt SM Prime Holdings Inc. from payment of taxes for the purchase of a 30.4 hectares of SRP lot estimated to cost P2.7 billion.
If taxes are charged to SM, they will have to withhold payment to the city of their quarterly amortization of P110 million.
Councilor Margot Osmeña, the council’s budget committee chairperson, said this is another blow to the city government since SM lot payments have been identified as one of the fund sources for the 2012 budget.
The vice mayor said a settlement of the tax case would also save future buyers of SRP lots from additional tax payments.
“The mayor has tried several times (to appeal for tax exemption to the BIR but failed),” Young said.
Rama split from the administration Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) following political differences with the council and Osmeña, his predecessor. /Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac