Davao City gov’t eyes higher budget

Subscribe Now October 19, 2010 at 11:06am

The city government is earmarking P4.11 billion next year for its budget, about P80 million higher than this year’s, without introducing new taxes.

Acting city administrator Roberto P. Alabado III said the city government will just have to improve its efficiency in collecting taxes rather than come up with new measures that might scare away investors. "We don’t have new tax measures because the city government believes it has enough already. What it must do is to intensify collection so that it can achieve its target," Mr. Alabado said.

The official made the comment as the city council starts deliberating its proposed budget for next year.

Official data from the Department of Budget and Management in 2009 indicates Davao City is the fifth richest city in the country with total financial resources of P4.2 billion.

The four other cities with higher income figures were all in Metro Manila led by Makati (P10.1 billion), Quezon City (P9.4 billion), Manila (P7.3 billion), and Pasig (P5.3 billion).

Earlier, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio reduced the P300 million peace and order fund by P53 million and trimmed down the P3 million annual development fund for every councilor, the local version of the so-called pork barrel funds of the members of the House of Representatives, to P2 million.

In justifying her action, Ms. Duterte said the money saved would be set aside from expenditures in social welfare and economic development.

Her father, now Vice Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, placed priority on peace and order by earmarking bigger amounts for the sector during his nine-year term that ended this year.

The plan not to impose new taxes, Mr. Alabado said, is to encourage new locators to start considering the city as investment area, particularly in remote areas already zoned for industries.

"We will try to modify our plan to make these areas more attractive to investors," said Mr. Alabado, an urban planner who assumed office when Ms. Duterte took the reins of the city government.

One idea, Mr. Alabado said, is to find ways to build communities near industrial zones to attract needed labor force in those areas.

He noted that in the past, the government’s resettlement areas did not consider the livelihood component bringing the workers farther away from their livelihood.

The city government, he said, is planning to come up with amendments to the 1996 zoning ordinance that would lure more investors.

Source: bworldonline.com

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