By NITZ ARANCON
CITY hall failed to reach its revenue target of P5.56 billion last year, a 2018 report of the Commission on Audit (COA) shows.
In the report, state auditor Ma. Glenna Digol-Bernal said city hall’s collections last year amounted to P3.68 billion, short of P1.88 billion or 33.81 percent lower than what the Moreno administration projected.
Because of this, Councilor George Goking called for a review of the performance of all of city hall’s income-generating departments.
Goking said there was also a need to identify businessmen and establishments who are delinquent taxpayers, and for city hall to apply pressure on them.
Goking, chairman of the city council’s ways and means, said councilors could start the performance audit on the City Treasurer’s Office, City Environment and Natural Reources Office, Office of the Building Official, City Assessor’s Office, and other local government offices that generate revenues.
He cited the case of the Clenro because its collections were relatively small given the quarry operations that require the government’s green light.
“Kadaghan sa nag-quarry unya gamay ra ang ilang nakolikta. Basin na-ay ilang kakulangon sa ilang collection. Ma-o na ang dapat masayran,” Goking said.
He said the city council’s ways and means committee would go over city hall’s finances and could initiate the performance audit.
But he said private sector representatives, including businessmen, can help in carrying out the performance audit.
Maricel Rivera, city hall spokesperson, said local government budgets can be funded not only from local revenues but also from surplus and even borrowings.
“We did not resort to borrowings, and we did not operate on a deficit budget either. Yes, we had an ambitious budget because Mayor Oscar Moreno wants to aim high to be able to serve our people better,” she said.
In a statement, city hall said its budget of P5.525 billion in 2018 was funded not just from local revenues and its Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) but from a P825.2-million surplus from prior years. It said local revenues amounted to P2.727 billion.
The statement, released by the City Information Office (CIO), said actual revenues last year amounted to P3.631 billion or about a 20-percent increase from the 2017 actual collection of P3.036 billion.
Reads part of the city hall statement: “This is actually the highest in terms of efficiency vis-à-vis Internal Revenue Allotment dependency of less than 50% (41.64%).”
The CIO said local tax collection was higher at 58.36 percent than the IRA downloaded by the national government.
“Comparing our actual collection efficiency since 2012 before the Moreno administration took over, we note an increase of almost double from P1.9 billion in 2012 to P3.6 billion in 2018,” reads part of the statement.
To avoid deficit spending, city hall said fiscal controls were imposed, including the 30-percent Reserve on Maintenance and Operating Expenses (MOOE) to preclude shortfall of income collections.
It also said capital outlays were prioritized in terms of their urgency and greater impact on the revenue generation strategies, as well as infrastructure-investment related projects of the city. Other capital outlays were on continuing appropriation status since capital outlay appropriation will not revert at the end of the year, it said.
Rivera said city hall has not been remiss in paying statutory obligations such as salaries, bonuses, incentives and payables to employees.
“Our payments for other obligations such as power and water are also updated. The LGU is also up to date in the payments for borrowings incurred by the past administration,” reads the city hall statement.
City hall said this is the reason why the Bureau of Local Government Finance ranked Cagayan de Oro as No. 1 in terms of locally sourced revenue dependency among Mindanao cities in 2016 at the rate of 51.39 percent.