Zamboangueños Helping Zamboangueños!
Mayor Lobregat Advocates Self-Reliance for City in
Collecting Special Taxes for Education Infrastructure
By: Zamboanga.com Editorial –
September 2, 2007
Zamboanga.com is aligning itself
with Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat in advocating for a self-reliant
chartered city in collecting special property taxes for the benefit of building
more and much needed public education infrastructure for the sixth largest chartered
city in The Philippines. We have been very critical in our previous
editorials of the national government in their failure and outright neglect in
providing Zamboanga City with its fair and equitable share of the taxes it
generates and gives to the Philippine government for the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
The deep and incessant
corruption in the
national government cannot be relied upon to provide Zamboangueños with their
basic right to a public education. The year 2007 has seen a little bit
more IRA funds trickling into Zamboanga, but it is far too little and far too
late, and does not even address the city's public education infrastructure
It is a fickle attempt by Malacañang to appease the current situation and does
not reflect their historical record of neglect.
So, the citizens of Zamboanga City
should stand up and advocate for the city government to pass an initiative to
immediately begin implementation of a Special Education Funding (SEF)
specifically warranted for the building of the city's public school
infrastructure and necessary associated services to benefit its targeted citizenry.
There are thousands of poor children who cannot afford to go to
public schools because they are forced to help their family bring whatever "food"
they can muster into their table. The city government has an inherent
responsibility to make sure its poor citizens, especially the young, uneducated
minds, are provided the opportunity and the capacity to be in school and not out
of it. If more Special Education Funding (SEF) can be collected by the
city government, these poor children could even be offered some sort of
supplemental food program to feed them while they are in school. Their
being fed with public funds would help their poor parents fend for themselves
only, and maybe they can also be made part of a broader city government program
that would help educate the children's parents if they are illiterate or have
none, or little, higher public education. We all know there are
thousands of these Zamboangueño parents who are very poor and illiterate, or
have little education.
A better educated public can help the Barrio
Captains, the City Council, the Mayor's office, and the city's twin
Congressional Representatives be more proactive in addressing the lingering
problem of terrorism violence that is being brought into normally peaceful
Zamboanga City. The gap between haves and have-nots can be narrowed
through education, allowing opportunity and hope where there is none now.
Good and bad influences can sway with the tide of knowledge, and a knowledgeable
people will stand a better chance at making sound decisions when given that
opportunity. The opportunity of choice is a very powerful weapon of
civility. A civilized population is
a hopeful future...
This SEF program just needs to
be done immediately, for the benefit of all Zamboangueños.
Peace be with us.
Sun-Star Zamboanga, Sunday,
September 02, 2007
Mayor bats for less IRA dependency
MAYOR Celso Lobregat has
declared anew his goal for less dependency on the Internal Revenue Allotment
(IRA) as he expressed hopes that the City Council will realize the urgent need
for increased local taxes.
Lobregat said the members of the City Council are on a study tour of different
highly urbanized cities in the country with the aim of learning and consequently
emulating the many programs that made a difference for other areas.
“Hopefully they will realize
the need for local revenues because they will see that other cities can do such
and such programs due to efficiency in local revenues,” Lobregat said when asked
to comment on the councilors’ five-day tour to key cities, like Cebu, Davao and
those located in Metro Manila, like Makati and Quezon City, among others.
Quezon City for instance has a local collection strength of P6-7 billion
allowing its local government to allocate more funds for infrastructure projects
and other programs, according to the mayor.
“You can’t have so many programs if you don‘t have revenues,” he said.
He also cited the case of Makati City, which special education fund (SEF) for
this year reached P1.8 billion, as compared to Zamboanga City’s level of P40-50
He said Makati City is a small area and so with such large collections, the
local government there can put up its own Pamantasan ng Makati.
The SEF is sourced from ½ of the real property tax collection and is used to
fund the personal services of local school board teachers, the construction and
repair of school buildings, comfort rooms, fences and participation in division
and regional meets.
The same is true with Manila City, which has over a billion peso LSB, according
to Lobregat. He said: “Can you imagine how many school buildings can we build
through the LSB fund of P1 billion or how many additional teachers can be
Zamboanga City, he stressed is the third largest city in the country and is the
6th in terms of population and yet its collection is
Since he assumed office in 2004, Lobregat has started initiatives for enhanced
local revenues. In fact, from an almost 80 percent IRA dependent budget in 2000,
the city government is target a less than 70 percent IRA dependent budget this
The personal services component in this year’s budget was reduced to 34.6
percent, maintenance, operating and other expenses to 38 percent and capital
outlay and equipment component increased to 27.4 percent.
The gradual reduction in IRA dependency was due to the passage of the ordinance
on the general revision of taxable real properties and other income generating
measures by the previous City Council.
Meanwhile, Lobregat personally spearheads the conduct of a series of forum on
barangay fiscal administration in the city’s barangays where he also advocates
for increased revenue collections in the villages. (Sheila E. Covarrubias)
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