Taguig becomes debt-free city
LGU pays off previous admin’s P1.6-B loan while funding city projects
The Taguig City government ended 2018 on a high note as it officially became a debt-free local government unit for 2019.
A total of P1,226,609,848 in loans plus P388,859,293 in interest was incurred under the previous administration which Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano’s administration fully paid as of Dec. 7, 2018, said Atty. Voltaire Enriquez, officer in charge of the City Treasury Office.
“We pre-terminated all our loans with LandBank because, by the end of 2018, Mayor Lani wanted that the next administration would not have to suffer the same fate she suffered when she took on the administration in 2010,” he noted.
According to Enriquez, to wipe clean the debt slate of the local government, the Cayetano administration set aside funds annually for the debts. To start in 2011, for example, P220 million of the P3,745,000,000 total budget allotted to Taguig went to debt payment.
Eyeing a debt-free status, the city government avoided luxury and made sure funds were used efficiently, said Enriquez. “Take this example from the previous administration: imported mobile garbage bins that cost a debt of over P100 million. We did not engage in those things.”
Despite this objective of becoming debt-free, the Cayetano administration did not allow this to happen at the cost of delivery of efficient and more expansive services. On the contrary, the administration continued to prioritize essentials, such as health, education and social services. In fact, the previous P5 million budget of the previous administration for scholarship was increased by P100 million yearly from 2011 to 2016. In 2018, the budget for scholarship was at P650 million. Because of this investment, more than 47,000 post-high school scholars were able to have access to free education in about 200 colleges and universities.
Apart from this, students from all public schools in Taguig also enjoy free education. Parents do not need to worry about paying any fee or spending for the needs of their children as the city provides free school uniforms, bags, shoes, emergency grab bags, hygiene kits and raincoats. New, modern and conducive buildings with air-conditioned classrooms were also constructed in public schools.
In health, pioneering programs were introduced such as Super Health Centers which are open 24/7, door-to-door delivery of maintenance medicines for asthma, hypertension and diabetes as well as other medical equipment like wheelchairs, crutches and hearing aids, doctors who are ready to respond to any medical emergency at any time through the Doctor-On-Call program, therapists and nurses who visit bedridden patients in their homes through the Home Health program, and door-to-door anti-rabies vaccination for cats and dogs, among others.
Senior citizens’ birthday cash gift was increased to as much as P5,000 and lolos and lolas in Taguig are able to avail of free eye checkups and prescription glasses through the Oplan Linaw program. Similarly, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) are given birthday cash gifts and provided with jobs to ensure that they can sustain their daily needs. Burial assistance was also increased to P20,000.
The city was able to attain the debt-free status while continuing to deliver more services not only through proper budgeting and expenditure but also by increasing its revenues not through raising taxes but by being efficient in collection and by providing investment-friendly environment which attracted business to set up shop in Taguig.
To stay on track, the city started the yearly Business One-Stop Shop (BOSS) which allows for processes for renewing business licenses and registrations to be streamlined. The city’s BOSS has earned a Blue Certification Award from the Office of the Ombudsman indicating that it passed the anti-graft agency’s standards to hasten the process and provide ease in doing business in Taguig.
“The more taxes we collect from the business community, the more services we can provide to Taguigeños,” said Mayor Lani.
The initiative was welcomed by residents, who were “very much encouraged to pay taxes because they know that their taxes translate to social services.”
The laudable fiscal management of the city government allowed for Taguig to finance projects and pay off debts without resorting to borrowing, explained Enriquez.
This, he said, was unlike what happened during the previous administration, which at one point had to incur debts worth P348 million to finance the construction of roads and pathways, among others.
“We did infrastructure projects and much more, but we were able to pay debts and even have money in the bank. And, we also have enough money to undertake grand projects like the construction of another hospital and a new city hall,” he said.
“Mayor Lani’s management of the city’s fiscal resources was indeed remarkable. If not for this, we would not have been able to pay off the city’s debt which would be a lot of trouble for us,” Enriquez added.
For her part, Mayor Lani added that Taguigeños deserve nothing but the best from the local government. “In coming up with programs for the city, our administration has placed the residents at the top of our priority list as we made sure that Taguig and its people will prosper together,” she noted. ###
Debt-free na ang Taguig City
Pamahalaang lokal ng Taguig binayaran ang P1.6-bilyong utang ng nakaraang administrasyon habang pinopondohan ang mga proyekto sa lungsod
Winakasan na ng Taguig City government ang pagkakabaon sa utang ng nakaraang administrasyon matapos bayaran ang mahigit P1.6 bilyon bago pa man matapos ang taong 2018.
Dahil dito ay pumasok ang bagong taon ng 2019 na wala nang nalalabing utang ang lokal na pamahalaan ng Taguig.
Sa kabuuan ang iniwang utang ng nakaraang administrasyon ay P1,226,609,848, idagdag pa ang P388,859,293 na interes na buo nang nabayaran ng administrasyon ni Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano noong Dec. 7, 2018, sabi ni Atty. Voltaire Enriquez, officer in charge ng City Treasury Office.
“We pre-terminated all our loans with LandBank because, by the end of 2018, Mayor Lani wanted that the next administration would not have to suffer the same fate she suffered when she took on the administration in 2010,” wika pa ni Enriquez.
Dagdag pa ni Enriquez, upang mabayaran lahat ng utang ng Taguig, kinailangan ng Cayetano administration na magtabi ng pondo para sa utang. Sinimulan ito noong 2011 kung saan aabot sa P220 milyon ng P3,745,000,000 ng total budget na nakalaan sa Taguig ay napunta sa pagbayad ng utang.
Sa pinupuntiryang debt-free status, iniwasan ng city government ang mga luho at sobrang pag-gastos upang masiguro na mapupunta ang mga nilaan na pondo sa tamang paraan, saad pa ni Enriquez.
“Take this example from the previous administration: imported mobile garbage bins that cost a debt of over P100 million. We did not engage in those things,” wika pa ng opisyal.
Sa kabila ng mga paraan para makabayad ng utang, hindi naman tinipid ng Cayetano administration ang pagbibigay ng mahusay at mabisang serbisyo para sa mga Taguigeño. Bukod pa nga rito ay patuloy na nabigyan prayoridad ang mga pangangailangan ng Taguig, kagaya ng health, education at social services. Sa katunayan, ang dating P5-million budget ng nakaraang administrasyon para sa mga scholarship ng estudyante ay itinaas ng P100 milyon kada taon mula 2011 hanggang 2016. Nitong 2018, ang budget para sa scholarship ay nasa P650 milyon na. Dahil sa investment na ito, mahigit 47,000 post-high school scholars ang nabigyan ng libreng edukasyon sa mahigit na 200 kolehiyo at unibersidad.
Bukod pa rito, ang mga estudyante mula sa pampublikong paaralan sa Taguig ay may libreng edukasyon kung saan ang mga magulang ay hindi na mamomroblema sa pagbayad ng tuition ng kanilang anak. Bagkus, ang kanilang ipon ay pwede na nilang itabi para sa mga pangangailangan sa bahay. Kasama na rin sa pondo ng Taguig ang libreng school uniforms, bags, shoes, emergency grab bags, hygiene kits at raincoats. Meron na ring moderno at maayos na gusali na may air-conditioned classrooms na naitayo para sa mga estudyante.
Sa kalusugan naman, ang mga pioneering program ay inilunsad kagaya ng Super Health Centers na bukas sa publiko 24/7, door-to-door delivery ng maintenance medicines para asthma, hypertension at diabetes kasama na ang ilan pang medical equipment kagaya ng wheelchairs, saklay at hearing aids, ang mga duktor na handang rumesponde sa kahit anong medical emergency sa kahit anong oras sa pamamagitan ng Doctor-On-Call program, mga therapist at nurse na bumibisita sa mga bedridden na pasyente sa bahay bahay dahil sa Home Health program, at ang door-to-door anti-rabies vaccination para sa mga alagang pusa at aso, at iba pa.
Ang birthday cash gift naman ng senior citizens ay itinaas na rin ng aabot sa P5,000 at ang mga lolo at lola sa Taguig ay may libreng eye checkup at prescription glasses sa pamamagitan ng Oplan Linaw program. Kasunod pa nito, ang mga Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) ay meron nang birthday cash gifts at nabigyan na rin sila ng trabaho upang masiguro na matulungan sila sa pangangailangan sa pang-araw araw. Itinaas din ang burial assistance sa P20,000.
Ang lahat ng ito ay dahil sa maayos na pamamahala sa budget ng lungsod at maayos at tapat na tax collection ng syudad, na ikinatuwa naman ng mga negosyante at namumuhunan.
Dahil na rin dito, nagkaroon pa ng taunang Business One-Stop Shop (BOSS) kung saan naging mas maayos, mabilis at maaliwalas ang pagproseso ng mga papeles sa pag-renew ng business licenses at registrations. Ang BOSS ng Taguig ay umani na ng Blue Certification Award mula sa Office of the Ombudsman, tanda na ito ay pumasa sa mga pamantayan ng anti-graft agency upang mapabilis ang proseso at mapadali ang pagbubukas ng negosyo sa lungsod.
“The more taxes we collect from the business community, the more services we can provide to Taguigeños,” saad pa ni Mayor Lani.
Natuwa rin ang mga residente na may napupuntahan ang mga tax na kanilang ibinabayad sa lungsod.
Paliwanag ni Enriquez, sa maayos na pamamalakad ay nakabayad ng utang ang Taguig at naiangat pa ang kalidad ng serbisyo sa tao.
Dagdag pa niya na hindi ito nangyari noong nakaraang administrasyon kung saan nangutang pa ng P348 milyon para lamang mapagawa ang mga kalsada at sidewalk.
“We did infrastructure projects and much more, but we were able to pay debts and even have money in the bank. And, we also have enough money to undertake grand projects like the construction of another hospital and a new city hall,” saad pa niya.
“Mayor Lani’s management of the city’s fiscal resources was indeed remarkable. If not for this, we would not have been able to pay off the city’s debt which would be a lot of trouble for us,” ayon pa kay Enriquez.
Sinabi naman ni Mayor Lani na ang biyayang nakukuha ng mga Taguigeños ay inspirasyon para lalong mabigyan ng maayos na programa at serbisyo ang mga tao. “In coming up with programs for the city, our administration has placed the residents at the top of our priority list as we made sure that Taguig and its people will prosper together,” saad pa ng alkalde. ###