MANILA Though Quezon City consistently ranks among top cities in terms of revenue generation, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte is saying there is still much room for improvement to drive up the city's income per capita.
Many say we are the richest city with an PHP18.5-billion budget, and then we even passed a supplemental budget of another PHP6 billion. But having said that, we must bear in mind that those are in absolute terms, not in per capita, Belmonte said in press conference on Monday.
If you talk about (the budget) per capita, we are not a rich city at all. We have so much more people, she added.
She noted that although Quezon City is usually compared to the City of Makati, the latter has almost the same budget as Quezon City but is only a fraction of Quezon City in terms of population and size.
We have 3.1 million people and we are one-fourth of Metro Manila. So, in other words, we cannot talk about income in absolute terms, but we must talk about it in the context of the size and the demographics of a city, Belmonte said.
In the Commission on Audit's (COA) list of cities with the highest revenue earned in 2015, Quezon City claimed the top spot with PHP16.37 billion in reported income.
Makati City was a close second at PHP15.51 billion.
In its 2016 report, Makati City topped the same list with a revenue of PHP26.85 billion while Quezon City followed behind at PHP20.20 billion.
In terms of total assets, Quezon City has been dubbed the Philippines' richest city for several years.
However, in the COA's report for 2017, Makati City has dethroned Quezon City as the richest local government unit.
Despite Quezon City and Makati City's close figures, Makati City's population of 588,894 pales in comparison to Quezon City's nearly 3 million, according to the 2015 census.
Meanwhile, Quezon City posts a land area of 165 square kilometers versus Makati City's 27 square kilometers.
For this reason, Belmonte admitted that there is still so much more potential for revenue generation.
She cited the city's implementation of a crime ticketing system to let local ordinance violators avoid detention as an additional source of revenue for the city.
With as many as 400 arrested per day in Quezon City for violating local laws such as smoking and drinking in public places and going shirtless in public, Belmonte estimated that the city could earn as much as PHP200 million per year if violators were to pay fines instead.
She said eliminating corrupt practices and inefficiencies in city government transactions can also drastically increase the city's revenues.
If we implement good governance and transparency and really crack down on corruption, the city could earn up to PHP40 billion a year, Belmonte said.
That's actually double of what we're earning now. And even if we earn just PHP10 billion more, that's another PHP10 billion to spend for the people of Quezon City, she added. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency