20% tax on idle lands proposed

SENATOR Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. is pushing for a bill imposing a 20 percent ad valorem tax on idle lands, ensuring funds for the local government units’ (LGUs) public health services.

In filing Senate Bill No. 1202, Revilla said funds generated from the additional ad valorem tax on idle lands will be appropriated to the special health fund (SHF) of the city or municipality where the land is located.

Under Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, the annual tax on idle lands is five percent of the assessed value of the property, in addition to the basic real property tax.

Currently, the imposition of the idle land tax is optional on the part of the local government units (LGUs) concerned.

The bill aims to encourage real property owners to put idle lands into productive use, considering that land resources are getting scarce, Revilla said.

“Land owners and developers that opt to keep private lands idle and unproductive should, in exchange, share in the burden of the public health care delivery through an enforced tax contribution,” he stressed.  

Under the measure, Revilla proposed that the local health boards manage the SHF to be collected from ad valorem tax on idle lands.

“The SHF shall be exclusively used to upgrade the facilities and equipment of local hospitals, rural health clinics, lying-in clinics, emergency hospitals, nursing homes and other health institutions found in cities and municipalities,” Revilla said.