Senator Win Gatchalian said the proposed real property valuation reform measure is expected to expedite the automation of local government units (LGUs) across the country and improve efficiency in revenue collection.
“Given that the direction of the current administration is to enhance digitalization of government processes, I believe the measure, once enacted into law, will pave the way for LGUs to automate their processes including revenue collection,” Gatchalian said at a recent technical working group of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, chaired by him.
Currently, 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.
According to Gatchalian, full automation of LGUs is also in line with a local governance reform project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) providing technical assistance to LGUs on computerization, which includes a computer-aided mass appraisal with a geographical information system or GIS.
“From digitizing forms and simplifying processes, automation of LGU processes increases not only efficiency in providing front-facing services but also enables LGUs to become more relevant to their constituents amid rapid digitalization of our everyday life,” he stressed.
Under the proposed Real Property Valuation and Assessment Reform (RPVAR) Act, the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) of the Department of Finance (DOF) 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 concerned parties in the appraisal or valuation of lands, buildings, machinery, and other real properties for taxation and other purposes.
“Inaasahan natin na mapapagtibay nito ang ating hangarin na mas maging episyente ang gobyerno sa pangongolekta ng buwis na hindi kinakailangang magtaas nito,” Gatchalian said.
One of the priority bills of the Marcos administration, the proposed measure is also expected to enhance technical cooperation between the national and local governments, lead to a more efficient rollout of infrastructure projects due to minimized valuation disputes, and improve investor confidence and public trust in the government’s valuation.
“We have seen from our experience that if you automate all the way to the settlement of fees, you will see an increase in revenue collection without even touching the tax rates. So, I think it is a good opportunity through this law to incentivize and push LGUs to automate,” he added, referring to his experience as former chief executive of Valenzuela City.