The Quezon City government has auctioned the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) for failure to settle real property tax obligations amounting to more than P46 million.
City administrator Victor Endriga said that the formal bidding and auction of PHC which resulted in sale of the PHC property to the QC government came after the Heart Center repeatedly failed to pay the P46,098,246.62 real property tax due despite several warrants of levy sent to the hospital.
The auction of the PHC pushed through after the City Assessor’s Office headed by Jose Castro declared that the institution is taxable, according to Endriga.
Despite the claim of PHC officials, led by executive director Dr. Manuel Chua Chiaco Jr., that the hospital is exempted from real property tax being a government owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), the city administrator clarified that Philippine Law on Local Government Taxation or RA 7160, Local Government Code of the Philippines, and QC Revenue Code support the city government’s position that PHC is subject to taxation.
He said that the three laws – Philippine Law on Local Government Code Section 193, Local Government Code Article 283 and QC Revenue Code Section 232, Article 59 clearly withdrew tax exemptions or incentives granted to and enjoyed by all persons, whether natural or juridical, including GOCCs.
Meanwhile, City treasurer Edgar Villanueva stressed that even the PHC charter will prove that the institution is now taxable after its creation on March 19, 1975 .
Under the PHC charter, it says that PHC shall be exempt from payment of all taxes, charges and fees imposed by the government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof for a period of ten years.
“The 10-year tax holiday of PHC already ended in 1985, thus it is taxable. Now, PHC does not enjoy any property tax exemption privileges for its real properties as well as the building constructed thereon after the expiration of ten years from its creation,” the city treasurer said.
“If they believe that they are still exempted from paying real property tax they should show proof… they should go to the city assessor’s to make this exemption valid,” he added.
Endriga and Villanueva reminded the PHC that big portions of the institution’s property are not solely being utilized for public service, but are being leased to private individuals for commercial purposes.
“The portions of the land leased to private entities as well as those parts of the hospital leased to private individuals are not exempt from taxes for these are not intended for public use or some public service and should be classified as private properties which are subject to the payment of real property tax,” they said. -30- Maureen Quinoñes, PAISO