HOW the city of Manila will cover its P3.5 billion obligations when it only has less than half of the amount at its disposal is a great puzzle to the Commission on Audit (COA).
State auditors revealed that before 2012 ended, Manila had liabilities amounting to P3.54 billion. However, the city only had P1.47 billion at its disposal.
The COA disclosed that by December 2012, Manila only had P202.79 million in its General Fund, P303.96 million in its Special Education Fund and P972 million for the Trust Fund or a total of P1.47 billion.
“The incurrence of an overdraft for all funds shows the insufficiency or inability of the city to pay its short-term debt obligations,” COA said.
City hall officials said that the Local Finance Committee already implemented cost-cutting measures such as cutting the hiring of consultants, casuals and job-order employees.
Government auditors said that Manila could have raised P4.79 billion had it aggressively enforced tax collection efforts over 79,023 real property units, whose owners are delinquent taxpayers.
The Manila city hall provided the Audit agency a list of tax delinquents, which revealed that P2.08 billion could have been collected from 38,193 land units, P2.01 billion from 39,112 buildings and P704.44 million from 1,718 machineries.
State auditors noticed that there were unpaid taxes, which had been outstanding for more than 20 years but the properties were not auctioned.
“This shows that the legal remedies provided in the Local Government Code and as adopted in the Revenue Code of the City of Manila in addressing tax delinquencies were not strictly observed,” they said. “Had the city officials availed of the legal remedies provided by law and developed strategies to enforce collections of the delinquent taxes, funds to finance the city projects, programs, barangays and schools could have been increased by P4.79 billion in 2012.”