Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lim: Atienza’s defective revenue collection left Manila with deficit

By Rommel C. Lontayao, Manila Times Correspondent

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim yesterday said that the City of Manila could incur a deficit of P1.4 billion due to the previous administration’s inefficiency in tax collection.

As a result of these collection losses, Lim said they will demand refunds from big firms such as Coca-Cola, Singer sewing machines, and Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) for taxes uncollected from the year 2000 to June 30 this year.

The mayor said he learned of this amount in uncollected taxes from the city treasurer’s report. He belied former mayor Joselito Atienza’s claim that his administration left behind P3.1 billion to the current city government.

Before leaving his post, Atienza proudly declared that Lim’s administration would have sufficient funds as he left P3.1 billion to the city coffers.

Now the Environment Secretary, Atienza claimed that since 1998, the city revenues increased from P2.2 billion to P6.8 billion.

Lim, however, said that the P3.1 billion that Atienza referred to has been allocated to the city’s various projects, trust funds and expenditures and salaries of city government employees.

“The city treasurer said there were no savings left, though we can realign some funds,” Lim said in a radio interview reposted by GMANews.TV.

The mayor added that because of its current financial situation, the city government would implement belt-tightening measures.

Lim had earlier reasoned out that Manny Pacquiao’s recent fight would have been shown live in the city’s various sports complexes. But since the past administration left the city government saddled with debts and financial obligations, the plan had to be scrapped.

Lim, who had announced a plan to acquire mobile cars for the police, said the city’s tight finances constrain them from immediately doing so. However, the mayor said he expects to start holding biddings to acquire some 60 mobile cars by next month

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