March 5, 2024

The city government’s revenues from arrival fees or kwartais at the city market went up by 106 percent after the assessment and collection system was revised and strengthened following the recent discovery of irregularities.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said this marked improvement in the income from the city market is just the beginning as the city continues to work on perfecting a fool-proof collection system after many years of being a source of corruption.

Records from the City Treasury Office showed the average revenues under the new collection system increased to P74,259 from the P36,018.10 average collection under the old system.

City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias issued Memorandum Order 01-22 dated July 27 spelling out the new procedures on the declaration of shipment or cargo, inspection and assessment of arrival fees, and payment to be undertaken by revenue collection clerks.

The new procedures were implemented starting Aug. 9.

Public Order and safety Division head enforcer Daryll Longid said as the one in charge of inspection and assessment of the goods, they adopted a scheme to centralize collection by cordoning off market entrances to make sure all incoming merchandise are taxed without exemptions.

“Under the previous practice, it is the collectors who are going after the merchants to collect the fees. Now, the merchants are not allowed to go in and unload their goods without undergoing assessment and without paying their goods,” he said.

He said the market is closed from 7 to 10 p.m. and no merchant with unpaid fees can enter.

Longid said with the improved system, the dagdag-bawas practice in collection has been eliminated and a check-and-balance has been instituted.

More improvements are expected as they intend to cover the remaining entry points and make sure that no merchant will be able to evade inspection and assessment or get away with dishonesty through misdeclaration or underdeclaration of their wares, Longid said.

Under the new procedures spelled out in the city treasurer’s memorandum, drivers of the cargo vehicles must submit goods declaration forms stating in detail the contents and number of items of their delivery upon arrival. Without the form, the vehicle will not be allowed to unload its cargo and will be asked to leave the premises. No goods will also be unloaded until arrival fees have been paid.

The POSD is now tasked to inspect the items for unloading compare the same with the contents indicated in the declaration form. In case of discrepancies or missing items, revisions will be made in the form and take note of the incident. A repeat of misdeclaration or underdeclaration may be grounds for the issuance of warnings and unloading disallowance for future cargo. Assessment of fees will be based on the corrected declarations as attested by the POSD. 

The assessment will be paid by the driver or the shipper/merchant to be receipted by the collector from the City Treasury Office.  Official receipts should be received and kept handy in case of inspections.  Those who will refuse ORs will be notified of violation with penalty. Collectors who will not issue ORs and their supervisors may face administrative or criminal liability. – Aileen P. Refuerzo