CTO records show: City not bankrupt

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Monday, May 12, 2014

CONTRARY to the statements of two members of the 17th City Council that the city might declare "bankruptcy" if calamities continue, records from the city's executive departments showed that the city has hundreds of millions of funds left to spend.

Sun.Star checked on the records following the fears raised by City Councilors Diosdado Mahipus and Rene Elias Lopez in last Tuesday’s session as they pointed out the continued release of funds to help fire victims in Barangays 21-C, 22-C, and 23-C can easily deplete calamity funds should there be other calamities of such scale.

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Records from the City Budget Office (CBO) revealed that there is P141 million budget left in the calamity fund, since only P109 million was utilized for three separate calamities for 2014.

Calamity aids include the P4-million financial assistance to the municipalities that were affected by the heavy downpour in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley in January this year, P45 million financial assistance to fire victims of the three barangays here in April, and additional P60 million for mitigation purposes of the evacuation site.

Meanwhile, the City Treasurer's Office (CTO) also recorded an 88 percent increase on collection of real property tax for the first three months this year compared to the entire year of 2013.

Records also showed that the CTO was able to collect some P560,453,392.13 (that is P284,186,866.72 from the basic tax and P276,266,525.41 from the special education fund) in the first three months of 2014 (January to March).

The figure is 88 percent of the entire collection in 2013, which was P638,743,949.36 (at least P320,187,298.37 from basic tax and P318,556,650.99 from special education fund), with still nine months to go.

"Nagtaas gyud siya. Kada tuig nagataas man gyud na. Kana pa lang na data, taas gyud siya (It has increased. It increases annually. With this data, it shows improvement)," City treasurer Rodrigo Riola told Sun.Star Davao in an interview on Wednesday, May 7.

During the session last Tuesday, Councilor Diosdado Mahipus said he fears that the city might declare "bankruptcy" since the executive department requested additional P60 million for rehabilitation purposes in Isla Verde.

"I am worried that if there will be two, three or five more conflagrations, the city might declare bankruptcy because our funds, if you look at the budget of the city, have not increased correspondingly," he said.

Meanwhile, Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang on Monday acknowledged the increase of the collection on real property tax.

"The shortfall in the 2013 collection can be attributed to real property tax problem, which I am optimistic that can be corrected this year based on the first quarter performance of CTO collection," Dayanghirang said.

Dayanghirang was among those who called the attention of the CTO on the uncollected real property taxes amounting to P1.115 billion that was revealed in February this year.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 13, 2014.

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