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Naga to remain a “Billionaire City”

NAGA CITY --- This city will continue to belong to the so-called “Billionaire City” next year despite the projected P300 million shortfall in revenues this year due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), a city councilor said.

Lawyer Salvador del Castillo, vice chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s Committee on Finance and Appropriation, said that even with the projected decrease in income, Naga City will have a budget of P1.1 billion in 2021.

He said that next year proposed city budget is P300 million lower than this year’s budget of P1.4 million.

Naga City made it to the so-called billionaire’s club during the last three years of the leadership of ex-Mayor John Bongat.

According to Del Castillo, they are certain that there will be a decrease in the collection of taxes and income, except for real property tax, due to the negative impact of Covid-19 on businesses.

He said the city government will implement better tax collection measures and prioritize spending on projects that will have bigger impact that would benefit Nagueños.

As this developed, Frank Mendoza, city budget officer, said that based from the latest report of the City Treasurer’s Office, collection has started to increase after the three months enhanced and general community quarantine period and that it is possible that the P1.4 billion targeted budget of P1.4 billion in 2021 may still be realized.

Mendoza said the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of Naga City for 2020 is almost P600 million.

The decision to cancel major civic activities for the Penafrancia Fiesta this September, such as the civic and military parades, Miss Bicolandia and others, will generate savings amounting to P9 million, he said.

Aside from the expected decrease in taxes, rental incomes from the city-operated Bicol Central Station and Naga City People’s will be reduced as the city government waived the rental payments of stallholders because of the lockdown.

Del Castillo assured taxpayers in the city that the city government will not impose new taxes as a result of the revenue shortfall.

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