Is this a fair deal?
A lawmaker in the House of Representatives wants a law that allows realty tax incentives for areas where trees have been deliberately planted.
Bohol Rep. Erico Aumentado filed House Bill No. 6461, which proposes a seven-year tax incentive on realty tax for "trees as improvement on the land".
Aumentado explained the suggested bill will hopefully encourage land owners to plant trees. This, as some land owners are actually reluctant to plant trees for fear that the trees will also be taxable due to their value as part of land improvement.
“Trees planted in private and public lands shall be declared free from taxation or government fees within a period of seven years,” the bill stated.
“(This is) to allow the planters time to care, nourish and maintain the growth of trees until they reach the commercial value stage thereof,” it added.
Aumentado also proposed the same for trees planted in watershed areas to accelerate the reforestation that will support potable drinking water, as well as hydro-electric power and irrigation facilities.
The lawmaker claimed that slow reforestation of lands in the country has been caused by lack of support from national and governments.
"It has been noted that the local government units, in more cases than not, have imposed high realty taxes on trees as improvement of the taxable land which discouraged land owners to plant forestal or even fruit bearing trees thereon because of exorbitant taxation," Aumentado said.
He acknowledged trees are vital to the environment and can serve as flood control, typhoon breakers, even tidal buffers that mitigate the impact of tidal action in the shorelines.
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