Senator Win Gatchalian wants the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to provide the necessary platform for marginalized local government units (LGUs) to automate their respective operations including tax administration.
According to Gatchalian it is important that all LGUs, particularly those belonging to the lower income class levels, have the necessary technology tools that would enable them to automate their respective operations.
Gatchalian made the call as the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by him, is currently fine-tuning through a technical working group (TWG) the provisions of a proposed real property valuation reform measure, which he hopes would expedite the automation of LGUs across the country.
The lawmaker has emphasized that the automation of LGU operations would significantly improve efficiency in revenue collection, along with other services provided by LGUs. “We all realize the benefits of digitalization in today’s age. Unfortunately, many of our LGUs, particularly those in far-flung areas have no capacity to undertake a digitalization process. In such cases, the DICT should provide all the tools necessary for these LGUs to automate their operations,” Gatchalian said.
The Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), an attached agency of the Department of Finance (DOF), pointed out the challenges faced by some LGUs, especially those with funding constraints. BGLF’s OIC Executive Director Pamela Quizon said during a recent TWG meeting that some LGUs’ systems could not connect to the tax mapping and the system of the BLGF.
“Inaasahan natin na bukod sa maisasaayos na nang husto ang pangongolekta ng buwis, ang digitalization ng mga LGUs ay magdudulot ng mas marami pang benepisyo sa kanilang mga nasasakupan na kalaunan ay makakatulong na mapasigla ang negosyo at ekonomiya sa kanilang mga lokalidad,” he said.
Only about 68% of LGUs in the country are implementing some form of automation. Out of this number, only 729 LGUs have existing real property assessment processes. The remaining 32%, which are mostly 5th and 6th-class municipalities, have no real property assessment-related system.
Under the proposed Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform (RPVAR) Act, BLGF is mandated to develop, adopt, maintain, and implement uniform valuation standards which shall be used by all appraisers and assessors in the LGUs and other government agencies in the appraisal or valuation of lands, buildings, machinery, and other real properties for taxation and other purposes.