Despite tax amnesty and COVID-19, Manila revenues grew by P693-M compared to previous city admin - Mayor Isko

In his State of the City Address (SOCA) on Thursday (July 2), Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said the city’s coffers grew by P693 million in his first year as mayor compared to the previous administration’s revenue collections from July 2018 to May 2019.

Mayor Isko Moreno

His year-old administration reportedly collected P12.441 billion from July 2019 to May 2020 despite the implementation of a tax amnesty and the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, data from the City Treasurer’s Office showed.

Domagoso highlighted this and other accomplishments in his speech, saying the city saw higher revenue collections, consistent cleaning operations, finished infrastructure projects, and more social welfare programs even amid the pandemic.

He also assured the public in his speech that “Despite COVID-19, the state of the city is strong and its future secure.” 

“Every generation is faced with a crisis that tests their mettle and probes the strength of their character. The COVID-19 pandemic is not only the Battle for Manila but also the battle of our generation,” he added.

The Manila mayor also shared some of the city government’s other achievements since he was sworn into office a year ago.

  • Higher revenue collections, more jobs and businesses

Domagoso accredited the city's higher tax collections to the “Go! Manila” mobile application and website, a digital platform where residents can pay their taxes, certificates, and assessment fees, among others, without physically going to Manila City Hall.

“We took advantage of this adversity in our favor to serve the city better in a very innovative way by adapting to technologies,” he said.

Meanwhile, a total of 8,665 newly-registered businesses and 51,022 renewed businesses were opened in the city during Domagoso’s first year in office. The Manila mayor ascribed this to the growing trust and confidence of business owners in the city government.

He vowed to think of more ways to promote ease of doing business in Manila.

Domagoso also said nearly 5,000 residents, including 555 senior citizens and 96 persons with disability (PWDs), were provided with jobs by the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) from July 2019 to June 2020.

"We must help our people. We should find an ‘out of the box’ idea on how to provide opportunities to the people," he said.

  • COVID-19 response

Domagoso announced that as of Thursday, the city government has administered rapid tests to around 135,048 people. All the test kits used were donated or turned over by various offices and groups from the government and the private sector.

“I would like to thank our donors for our rapid testing kits. We have tested 135,048 individuals. Tayo ang isa sa pinaka-agresibo na mag-test sa Pilipinas (We are one of the most aggressive in terms of testing in the Philippines). Even our fellow Manileños in the provinces, we extended assistance to them,” he said.

Meanwhile, about 14,162 residents have also taken free swab tests from the city government.

Recently, the Manila City government opened its own COVID-19 testing laboratory at the Sta. Ana Hospital after receiving its license to operate from the Department of Health. The testing laboratory has a capacity of 200 swabs tests per day. The result of each swab test is concluded in three to four hours.

The local chief executive also noted how the city government procured additional medical equipment and passed laws to better protect the city’s frontline health workers.

  • Cleaner, greener city

Around 566,904 tons of garbage equivalent to the capacity of 112,981 garbage trucks were hauled by the Manila Department of Public Services (DPS) in Domagoso’s first year as mayor.

Various city government departments have also been regularly conducting clean-up activities and flushing operations across the city, and thousands of road obstructions have been cleared away.

Domagoso said that cleaning Manila, as well as opening more green spaces in the city, has always been his priority.

“My desire to bring back the glory of Manila is translated into the physical development projects that we are now implementing,” he said. “Our physical development plans also aim to increase our green spaces and preserve our heritage and culture.”

Earlier, the Manila mayor declared Arroceros Park, dubbed the city’s "last lung," a permanent forest park.

The city government also built vertical gardens at the city’s landmarks, particularly Jones Bridge and the Lagusnilad underpass.

Among the projects the city government has lined up under the “Build Build Manila” program are Tondominiums 1 and 2 and Binondominium – public housing for informal settlers in the city – the Bagong Ospital ng Maynila, and the Bagong Manila Zoo.

Domagoso also said they will soon build a cemetery for the city’s Muslim residents.