The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) was prodded to provide marginalized local government units (LGUs) the platform to automate their operations, including tax administration.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday suggested for the DICT to “provide local government units with the necessary platforms.”
The senator stressed, “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.”
Presiding over the hearing as chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Gatchalian aired the call as the panel’s technical working group (TWG) was fine-tuning the provisions of the proposed real property valuation reform measure, which he hopes would expedite the automation of LGUs across the country.
At the same time, the senator also stressed 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,” Gatchalian noted but added, “Unfortunately, many of our LGUs, particularly those in far-flung areas have no capacity to undertake a digitalization process.”
The senator suggested that in such cases, “the DICT should provide all the tools necessary for these LGUs to automate their operations.”
Moreover, Gatchalian took note of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), an attached agency of the Department of Finance (DOF), pointing out the challenges faced by some LGUs, especially those with funding constraints.
He recalled that BGLF’s Officer-in-Charge Executive Director Pamela Quizon said in a recent technical working group (TWG) meeting that some LGUs’ systems could not connect to the tax mapping and to 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 percent 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 percent, 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 that 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.