The city government of Baguio was able to double its collections from the arrival fees or “kwartais” at the city market after strengthening is assessment system of goods following the discovery of alleged irregularities among city employees.
City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias said the city was able to collect P11,160,581 from January to May this year on arrival fees alone which is more than double the amount remitted to the city coffers for the same period at P5,574,802 in 2019 and 5,152,419 in 2022.
The foolproof collection system was based on Memorandum Order 01-22 implemented in August last year on the declaration of shipment or cargo, inspection and assessment of arrival fees and payment to be undertaken by revenue collection clerks with the involvement of the personnel of the Public Order and Safety Division.
POSD being in charge of inspection and assessment of the goods have adopted a scheme to centralize collection by cordoning off market entrances to make sure that all incoming merchandise are taxed without exemptions.
Previously, it was the collectors who were going to the merchants to collect the fees – where corruption allegedly takes place with the merchant and the collector underdeclaring the value of their goods as well as what “dagdag-bawas” fees reflected in the official receipt.
Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said the improved revenue is the result of uncovering alleged corruption by city employees assigned at the public market – 14 individuals have been filed with cases so far.
The City Treasury also reported an increase of revenues on market rentals from P15,784,964 covering the period January to May 2022 to P16,819,253 for the same period in 2023.
Further, the city collected P4,185,040 from the night market operation along Harrison Road covering the period January to May last year which increased to P5,674,816 for the same months this year.
Aside from the improved collection system on market arrival fees, Cabarrubias said the increase is also due to the lifting of health restrictions with Covid-19 no longer affecting the economic activities in the community. – Jessa Mardy P. Samidan