Thursday, September 6, 2012

Naga budget P535M: mayor

..FROM having a budget of P180 million in its first year as a component city five years ago, Naga City now has an annual budget of more than P500 million. Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong, in his State of the City Address yesterday, said that as of this year, his city has an annual budget of P535 million, of which P242 million comes from their share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) while P293 million is generated from the City’s tax collection measures. The annual budget this year is way bigger compared to last year’s budget of P180 million, he added. Chiong attributed the increase of the city’s revenue to the numerous businesses and industries that invested in Naga. He also believes that the City’s thrust on participatory governance and strategic partnerships with the private sector have encouraged investors to do business with them, resulting to more job opportunities for their constituents. Put to good use Also, Chiong said the money they collect from taxpayers in the city has been put to good use and has been spent an improving the city’s services to their residents. Chiong said that as of last year, the Naga City Government has spent P147 million on infrastructure projects, of which P80 million was allotted for the paving and concreting of roads in the city. He added that P50 million was spent for the construction of the Enan Chiong Activity Center, a multipurpose sports center situated near the New Naga City Hall. Also, the City spent P30 million for the expansion of its reclamation project and P10 million for the construction of covered courts in the barangays. For this year, Chiong said they are targeting the construction of a P20-million city slaughterhouse and the P80-million Naga Public Market. He is also pursuing a joint venture agreement with a water supplier, in which the City will be receiving royalty fees and any change in tariffs will be subject to the approval of the City Council. In education, Chiong said the City Government spent P95 million for various educational programs, such as the hiring of 150 locally funded teachers during the last school year and the construction of 38 classrooms. The city also spent P4 million for armchairs to different schools in the city and allocated P15 million to buy school books. Service Chiong, who celebrated his birthday yesterday, added that the City has provided the City Department of Education (Deped) with service vehicles and lands intended for school sites, resulting in the construction of 21 high schools in the 28 barangays in the city. Chiong said the City’s efforts on education has made Naga a top performer in the National Achievement Test for two consecutive years. As for health services, Chiong said the city has ensured that all barangays in the city will have a nurse and a midwife. Also, they have outsourced the services of doctors to conduct regular visits and consultation for at least twice a month in all barangays. They have also given 10,000 residents in the city free Philhealth memberships and increased the budget for medicines and other health services. As for environmental compliance, Chiong said Naga City is probably the first and only local government unit in Cebu Province that has fully complied with the mandatory requirement from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the total closure and rehabilitation of the city’s open dumpsite, paving the way for the opening of the city’s Material Recovery Facility in Barangay Pangdan. ..