No thanks to a massive shortfall in tax collections, the City of Manila is in the red by P1.4 billion, and will have to be in belt-tightening mode for the moment.
Mayor Alfredo Lim disclosed this after completing his first 100 days in office, blaming the shortfall on predecessor Jose Atienza Jr.
“Ang report ng treasurer, this year we will suffer a shortfall of collection mga P1.4 billion. Belt-tightening kami ngayon (Our treasurer reported that we will suffer a collection shortfall of P1.4 billion. We’re now in belt-tightening mode),” he said in an interview on dzRH radio.
Lim is scheduled to formally present his “achievement report” for his first 100 days before a Church-backed forum in Manila Saturday night.
He said this includes refund demands from large firms such as Coca-Cola, Singer sewing machines, and Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) for taxes from 2000 to June 30 this year.
Lim said the shortfall hampered his plan to acquire 60 police patrol cars to beef up police visibility in the city. Lim headed the Manila Police District (MPD) in the 1980s.
The mayor belied Atienza’s “press release” of leaving the city P3.1-billion after his term ended last June 30.
He said the P3.1 billion turned out to have been earmarked for various projects, trust funds and expenditures, as well as salaries of City Hall employees.
“Sabi ng treasurer walang savings pero pwede i-realign ang pera (Our treasurer said there were no savings left though we can realign some funds),” he said.
Lim said he expects to hold biddings for the 60 mobile cars by November. He said he wants to see 20 police patrol cars crisscrossing the city at any given time.
He also said he has assured MPD head Chief Supt. Roberto Rosales that City Hall will shoulder expenses for an additional eight liters of fuel a day for every police patrol car.
“Basta kailangan mga kotse makita sa kalsada. Gusto ko rin ibalik ang uniformed beat patrol (The bottom line is that I want to see those cars on the streets. I also want to bring back the uniformed beat patrol),” he said.
Lim also said he has plans for the Baywalk area, including having rondallas from elementary and high schools perform there instead of having bands disrupt the scenery.
He belied criticisms that he is sabotaging Atienza’s lighting project, saying thieves stripped away the wiring of the street lamps.
“Two weeks ago biglang namatay. Ang nagkalat ako daw nagpapatay. Ninakaw pala ang kuryente. Nahuli na namin ang magnanakaw pati ang buyer sa Pasay nahuli (Two weeks ago the street lights went out. Rumors spread that I was behind that. It turned out thieves took the electrical wires. We arrested the thieves, along with the buyer from Pasay City),” he said.