With more than a month before the yearend, the city government of Manila has already earned P9.7 billion in revenues—just P462 million less than its 2016 total collections of P10.2 billion.
The Office of the City Treasurer credited the city’s steady financial growth to Mayor Joseph Estrada’s efficient and good fiscal management in the past four years that saved the city from bankruptcy.
“Our city is now practically debt-free, and we have since stabilized our finances, resulting to more infrastructure projects and social welfare programs for 1.7-million Manileños,” Estrada said.
From January to October 2017, the city’s revenue collections reached P9.74 billion, which Assistant City Treasurer Ma. Jazmin Talegon is positive could still increase by the months of November and December and ultimately surpass the 2016 revenues.
Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has turned over a total of P131.6 million in real-property tax shares to the locality’s 142 barangays for the third quarter of 2017.
Bautista tasked the Barangay Operations Center and Treasury Office to spearhead the distribution of the tax share, from which District 1 was able to get P7.3 million, while District 2 had P9.7 million.
The city government gave District 3 P17.9 million; District 4, P27.1 million; District 5, P33.2 million, and District 6, P36.4 million.
District 2’s Barangay Pasong Putik, home to three large department stores—Robinsons Nova, SM Fairview and Ayala Land’s Fairview Terraces—got the highest share at P1.068 million, followed by District 5’s Nagkaisang Nayon with P1.062 million, and District 3’s Socorro with over P948,000.
The Local Government Code of 1991’s Section 271 mandates that 30 percent of the proceeds from the basic real-estate tax of the barangays shall go back to the barangays.
According to Bautista, the tax share shall be used to finance infrastructure improvement, local development and livelihood projects.
When Estrada was elected in 2013, Talegon said the city government had an outstanding debt of P4.4 billion left by the previous administration of Alfredo Lim.
By then, the city had less than P300 million only in General Fund—not even enough to pay the one-month salary of city hall employees. Worst, the city hall also had an unpaid P600 million in electricity bills.
Six months to his new post, on January 1, 2014, Estrada implemented a new round of tax increase through Ordinance No. 8330 to enable the then cash-strapped city government to pay its debts, according to Talegon.
“There was intensive collection of taxes and good cash or fiscal management. This is from intensive collection of real property taxes to business taxes. The debts were paid right away. Salaries were also paid on time,” Talegon said when asked how the city government quickly recovered back then.
From then on, the city’s income has continued to increase: P9.06 billion in 2014; P10.16 billion in 2015; and P10.20 billion in 2016, Talegon added.
The total revenue of the city in 2013, including Lim’s last six months in office from Jan. 1 to June 30, was only P7.32 billion.
Compared to Estrada administration, Manila’s income under Lim was only P5.67 billion in 2010; P6.29 billion in 2011; and P6.20 billion in 2012.
When Estrada assumed office, the city government’s tax collection efficiency has significantly improved, Talegon said.
“We sent out notices of delinquencies to the companies and also called them up frequently,” she said.
To further improve collections and make the City of Manila more conducive to business, Estrada has also introduced a new registration and licensing system at the Bureau of Permits office where business owners and new investors could process their Mayor’s Permit (business permit) in 30 minutes guaranteed, Talegon added.
Estrada introduced the new scheme at the start of the annual business permit application and renewal this January, which resulted to increased collection of business taxes and fees by the city government.
Lawyer Fortune Mayuga, chief of the city’s Bureau of Permits, said the new system introduced by Estrada has received positive feedbacks from business owners.
Under the new scheme, business owners and new applicants could process and get their Mayor’s Permit in 30 minutes or less because the Bureau of Permit has integrated the payment of Fire Safety Inspection Certificate, Zoning Permit, Sanitary Permit, garbage fees, and others, in one window.