The Makati City government collected a total revenue of P17.8 billion in 2018, up by at least P2.2 billion against its P15.6 billion revenue goal for the year.
The positive collection performance was one of the city’s 2018 major accomplishments presented by Mayor Abigail Binay during her third State of the City Address held at the Peninsula Manila on Tuesday.
Speaking before members and officials of the Rotary Club Makati during the event, Binay said business tax was the city’s biggest source of revenue last year with P9.1 billion, followed by realty tax with almost P6.2 billion.
“The reforms and innovations we have put in place since I came on board at city hall have not only earned for us the trust of investors and taxpayers, but also the highest audit rating from the Commission on Audit,” said Binay.
COA had rendered an “unqualified opinion’ on the city’s financial statements for fiscal year 2017, the very first time for Makati to earn the highest audit rating given by the independent regulatory body.
Binay cited steps taken by the city government to make transactions more efficient and convenient for taxpayers, such as establishing a Business One-Stop Shop at the ground floor of city hall Building II, and streamlining the process for business permit renewal and new applications.
The COA has also confirmed Makati as the country’s richest city with total assets reaching P196.7 billion, more than double the figure in 2016. It is also the first local government unit to breach the P100-billion mark for assets.
The city chief executive also shared innovations in the education sector aimed to “make quality education truly free and accessible to every child and youth in Makati.”
She said the city has provided more freebies to public school students, such as rubber shoes and raingear, hygiene and dental kits, and free educational trips to popular sites, to ease the burden of parents and eliminate any excuse for them not to send their children to school.
Binay also boasted of a new digital mammography machine and portable x-ray now available at the Ospital ng Makati, a memorandum of agreement with the Makati Medical Center that has given Yellow Card members access to its most advanced diagnostic tools and specialized health services, and the Baby Makatizen Program that promotes proper prenatal care.
Makati remained rabies-free throughout 2018 as a result of aggressive rabies vaccination that covered over 27,000 pets, while nearly 4,000 pets were microchipped.
The mayor also bared a proposal to provide P10,000 annual cash gift to senior citizens aged 90 to 99 under the Blu Card program, which is awaiting approval by the City Council.
Last year, over 53,500 Makatizen Cards were distributed to qualified residents, and the free wifi project has covered 13 barangays.
Binay also said Makati was named Champion City in eGov Digital Finance Empowerment (G2P) at the First Digital Cities Awards, and won the Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award 2018 at the 38th Esri User Conference held in California.
Rotary Club Makati president Alfredo Pascual praised Mayor Binay for “making a difference” in Makati, saying he appreciated the emphasis she has given to health and education.
“We need healthy and well-educated people to push our country forward. That is the basis for the progress of the country,” Pascual said.
“I’m glad to find that you use technology to solve issues in the city particularly in the delivery of social services and addressing the headache of business people with respect to ease of doing business with the local government,” he told the mayor.
Binay expressed optimism on the long-term impact of the Makati Subway Project, targeted for completion in 2025, which she proudly called her “legacy to the people of Makati.”
“With a reliable, comfortable, and highly-efficient mass transport system, Makati will have less traffic congestion and parking woes, and less greenhouse gas emission as well. Workers will be more productive, and companies and establishments will be more profitable,” she said.
The mayor also cited initiatives done to promote peace and order and resilience, including the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment for disaster response and turnover of vital tools to the Makati police and fire departments.
“For nearly three years now, I have led the city government in restoring dignity and integrity at City Hall; competence, efficiency and compassion in our services; and law and order on our streets and in our communities,” she said.
She also expressed confidence that her administration has “succeeded in laying down the foundations for genuinely inclusive progress and a sustainable future for us all.”