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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 crisis.  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.

 

Zamboangueños helping 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 million.

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 hired?”

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 year.

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)

 

 

Zamboanga.com Editorials

What Have You Done, Congressman Erbie Fabian? - March 29, 2007

Journalists/Reporters Are The #1 Cause of Terror in Zamboanga City  -  November 16, 2006

The Dawning of A New Conscience: They Taketh... Then They Giveth  -  May 1, 2006

Zamboanga City's Political Power Vacuum  -  January 10, 2004

Absentee Voter's Bill of Rights passed - Overseas Filipino Workers legalized!  -  July 12, 2003

Zamboanga City's Civic Center  -  July 1, 2003

Behold the Garbage Pile of Zamboanga City's Fort Pilar  -  June 4, 2003

Zamboanga City’s so-called “Boat Ramp” is Full of Garbage! - May 31, 2003

Sacol Island: The Ideal Location for Zamboanga International Airport - May 16, 2003  (update: 08/09/2003)

Squatters: The #1 Problem of Zamboanga City - May 12, 2003  (update: 07/30/2003)

Charter of the City of Zamboanga - February 8, 2003

Zamboanga City: Bad and Good! - January 26, 2003

Zamboanga City Council: Are They Public Dictators or Corporate Directors? - January 11, 2003

A Formula for Philippine Independence – Financially! - December 25, 2002

Touché!  Malaysia Gets A Taste of Its Own Medicine From Big Boys! - December 24, 2002

Upcoming Z-Editorial: A Christmas Gift for Enriching The Philippines - December 16, 2002

Zamboanga City International Seaport: Bienvenidos Mujeres Blanca!  Adios! - October 5, 2002

Never Again? 30 Years Later, Can Martial Law Return? - September 21, 2002 (update: 10/24/02)

Zamboanga City: Home of The Military Gray - September 14, 2002

What Does Sabah Mean in Malaysia? - September 12, 2002

Congratulations!  Zamboanga City's Newest Instant Millionaires! - September 9, 2002

Legally, Who Has The Rightful Ownership of Sabah? - September 3, 2002

Malacañang Palace: The Key to Opening Up The Next Al Qaeda Front in Zamboanga - August 27, 2002

Zamboanga City: Beware The Hidden Cargo of Al Qaeda "Deportees!" - August 26, 2002

Zamboanga City: The Dumping Ground of Malacañang Palace - August 22, 2002

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