Estrada declares Manila City government ‘debt-free’ after paying off GSIS arrears

By Erma Edera

Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada on Friday assured that the city government has already settled its obligation with the Government Security Insurance System (GSIS) after it was able to pay more than P200 million in unpaid premiums and interests.

Manila Mayor re-electionist Joseph Ejercito Estrada (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)
Manila Mayor re-electionist Joseph “Erap” Ejercito Estrada (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a March 1, 2019 letter, the GSIS reminded the city government of an outstanding liability of P204,215,076.45, representing employee contributions that had not been remitted since Estrada took office in 2013.

“Under Republic Act 8291, otherwise known as the GSIS Act of 1997, it is mandatory and compulsory for government agencies to include the payment of such premiums contributions in their annual appropriations and remit the exact amount on time,” the GSIS said.

“The city government has enough financial budget to pay its obligation, and in fact, we already settled the P200 million the city government owed to the Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner (BIR) arrears left unpaid by former mayors Atienza and Lim,” Estrada said.

The city mayor also said Manila government’s financial management remained good and stable and will still be able to mend monetary responsibility with concerned private and government agencies.

With the payment, Estrada said the City of Manila was now totally debt-free.

When he assumed office as mayor in 2013, Estrada inherited a bankrupt administration that had unpaid of over P5 billion, with over P630 million in overdue bills to Meralco.

In 2015, Estrada declared the city debt-free after instituting various fiscal reforms that provided it with sufficient revenues to undertake infrastructure projects that would renew the city’s position as a prime financial, business and tourism hub.