Thursday, 24 May 2012

EDITORIAL: Transparency and revenue collection

A “mag-uuling”, who is a wife of a fisherman living along Parang shoreline’squatter section … she may not understand the meaning of “transparency” in governance, but would benefit from it one day. – MWBuzzpic by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

TWO glitters could be noticed from the 2011 financial statements of the municipality of Jose Panganiban, CamNorte:

1) An increased tax revenue collection alongside increase in year-end cash balance; and the less obvious one,

2) Transparency in handling it.

As of December 2011, the result of the local government unit’s revenue collection from taxes, permits, licenses and other sources was a modest P13.7 million, representing 15.1 per cent of the total revenue of P90.million generated during 12-month period.

Although there was no figure available from the previous year’s revenue drive, it was obvious an increase was achieved last year.

One proof to this is the amount of surplus cash held in various accounts in bank which amounted to P48.56 million.

It was P17.76 million more, or 57.8 per cent, compared to the 2010 cash held in bank of only P30.76 million (the administration of Mayor Ricarte Padilla took over on June 30, 2010, thus leaving him only six months to adjust his bearings).

MWBuzz readers may ask: Where did the extra P30.76 million come from?

The obvious answer is: from increased collection in local taxes, business and building permits, business income and others revenue pools.

It could not come from elsewhere.

One good reason for this is that a new municipal administration like that of Mayor Padilla’s has to show its constituents of more than 50,000 (actually 49,029 under the August 1, 2007 census issued by the National Statistics Office) that it meant business – honest to goodness business -- in running the affairs of the local government unit for the good of Mambulaoans.

Obviously, revenue generation during the administration of mayor William A Lim was uncreative, that various public works and social projects failed to shine for lack of funding that could have been generated from revenue pools but hadn’t.

Is so, why did Mayor Ricarte Padilla turn his eyes on computerizing the assessment of business permits, building permits, business fees and other municipal and service fees, for that matter at the start of 2011?

Again, the obvious reason is to stop leakages from potential revenues due the government and that only the computer programmed to assess how much to collect could stop this effectively.

As programmed, a certain payable fee would appear on the screen. Whatever the amount is, it has to be paid. And the amount to be paid is exactly what is flashing on the screen – no more, no less.

Otherwise, lesser amount is bound to be rejected by the computer.

With this, hundred instances of payable-fee-haggling have been discouraged and the “politicos” upstairs need no longer have to entertain an unscrupulous businessman who would see him with a request to have his payables chopped down by more than half.

“Those days are over,” Padilla told MWBuzz in a recent interview.

One good news he said, is that that initial estimates of revenue collection for the first four months of 2012 have already hit P8 million.

It is something that has never been achieved before by the municipal government, or any LGUs before for that matter, and this augurs well for Mambuloans who hunger for development in their communities.

Padilla, a successful businessman engaged in the distributorship of high-end medical facilities and supplies before eyeing the office of the mayor, knows what creative innovation could do to help his municipality generate more revenues.

The scheme is now churning out the much needed money to pay for various community services, public works (the baranggay road cementing project is a shining example) and livelihood programmes – all designed to improve the lot of his “kababayan”.

Without belaboring on the issue, it is suffice to say that the more than 50,000 Mambulaoans, who, just now, are starting to enjoy the benefits of good governance and transparency, should be looking forward to see Mayor Dong for another seven years in office.

Progress and development needed to be sustained.

Who could ever disagree at this time?

- Alfredo P Hernandez

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