DAVAO CITY 2015 annual budget to breach P3 billion
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
The Davao City government 2015 annual budget is the biggest so far for Mindanao’s premier city.
Last year, the government operated on an approved annual budget of P2.1 billion. But the Davao City Council steered by Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte back-stopped the budget with additional appropriations: Supplemental Budget No. 1 worth P179 million and Suplemental Budget No. 2 of P217 million, bringing the total cost of government operations in 2014 to P2.5 billion.
The 2014 budget was among the highest for a local government unit in the country and the biggest in Mindanao.
The 2015 budget is about 35 % higher compared to last year’s, spurred by projected increase in local taxes of P300 million and additional share from the Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA) of P400 million.
The Davao City Council was expected to approve Supplemental Budgets this year to push cost of government operations near the P 4 billion mark.
City planners are oozing with optimism on breaching revenue targets as the city enjoys an unprecedented rise in new businesses, the construction boom in the housing and property development industry, an upbeat tourism sector and the entry of big-ticket investors.
The local business bureau last year received about 30,000 new applications or renewal of business permits.
Nowhere but up, said Mayor Rodrigo Duterte earlier amid the tsunami of investors coming to the city.
To the garbage is where business permits would go if businessmen bribe government employees to have their permit approved, said Mayor Rodrigo Duterte,
The warning came as thousands of business owners were expected to apply for or renew business permits starting on January 3 up to January 20.
The Business Bureau said it expects to process applications of more than 30,000, the number of permits it issued last year.
“Do not abet corruption. Do not corrupt us,” Duterte said.
Duterte said the warning is directed to all, including big investors.
He said he has warned property and housing developers and other big investors against giving even one peso to government employees.
He also warned employees against accepting money from businessmen or face outright dismissal.
Duterte said as long as requirements are complied with, the permits would be approved on time.
An executive order issued by Duterte mandates approval of applications in three days.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order mandating applications for business and other permit approved in 72 hours even as local business praised City Hall for its fight against corruption.
A survey last year by the Social Weather Station (SWS) showed that the city got the highest rating, with Davao businesmen giving the city government a +67 grade in its fight against corruption among the national capital region (NCR), CALABARZON, Angeles, Iloilo, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro.
The order still stands today and local business is encouraged to report violations of the order.
Duterte urges the business sector to tell him what offices of the city government are not complying with the 72-hour processing policy so that he can place them under surveillance.
Duterte said allegations of corruption would be investigated immediately and if ‘validated to be true’ he would replace employees of the department in question, including its head.
Upon his assumption in 2013, the mayor issued the order mandating a 72-hour policy on processing permits in all the offices of the city government to address issues of corruption and red tape.
Duterte asked the business sector to show a ‘shopping list’ of requirements, such as tax declaration, from the City Assessor’s Office and other payments and after submitting them the transaction is already done.
He added that he already ordered every office in the city to bare what requirements and payments are to be submitted so that the 72-hour policy will be followed. (with EDGEDAVAO report)
Last year, the city government dismissed five city treasurer’s office (CTO) employees for misappropriation of tax collections amounting to P14 million last year.
Aside from dismissal, the city government also imposed accessory penalties, such as cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and disqualification from holding public office, and banning them from taking civil service examinations.