BAGUIO CITY -- The city is financially stable, making it possible to consistently increase fiscal funds, a Baguio City government official said.

Based on actual collection as compared to estimates, the biggest local internal sources are the business and real property taxes and these assure funding of the city’s 2019 approved budget of PHP2.175 billion, City Accounting Department chief, Antonio Tabin, said Monday.

The city government's annual budget is consistently increasing at an average rate of 10 percent over the past five years, or from PHP1.395 billion in 2014 to PHP2.056 billion in 2018.

Tabin said the city treasurer’s office exerts efforts to ensure that the funds, needed to operate and provide the needed public service and infrastructure, are collected from sources.

In an earlier interview, City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente said the local government has efficiently managed its income and expenditures through the responsible implementation of policies, practices and fiscal decisions through the years that resulted in a sustained increase in the city’s annual budget.

In 2014, the city’s annual budget was PHP1.395 billion; which rose to PHP1.501 billion in 2015; PHP1.622 billion in 2016; PHP1.776 in 2017; and PHP2.056 billion in 2018.

“To be fair with the city treasurer’s office, after the business permit renewal, they already started tax mapping, to check that establishments renewed their business permit to assure that the city collects the revenue needed to finance the operation,” Tabin told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

He said the city government received an actual collection of PHP2.027 billion. This came from the internal revenue collection of PHP836.364 million, and external revenue collection of PHP961.293 million, aside from the beginning balance of PHP230 million.

Tabin said the city’s revenues come from the beginning balance or money from the previous year’s over-collection, savings, reversions, surplus adjustments; internal sources, such as tax and non-tax revenues; and external sources, such as the internal revenue allotment from the city government, share from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, share from the National Wealth Tax, and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

The tax revenues include the real property tax collection and community tax while the non-tax revenues are fees collected from the operations of the city, such as market fees, slaughterhouse fees and others.

As a strategy, the office has been giving perks to taxpayers who pay early. Upon payment, they are given a raffle ticket that can entitle them to win prizes of values.

Tabin said there is a PHP28-million under-collection based on the projected or estimated revenue collection prior to 2018 as against the actual collection.

“When we were preparing our estimated revenue last year, we have anticipated that our proposed RPT (real property tax) will increase that is why we estimated PHP270 million, which is an increase of PHP100 million from the previous year’s PHP170 million,” he said.

“There is nothing to worry because undercollection does not mean the city government is unstable, it does not mean that there is a problem in the collection efficiency of the city,” Tabin said. (PNA)