THE QUEZON City government has proposed P27.8 billion for its 2020 budget, 29% higher than this year’s P21.5 billion approved fund.
Quezon City budget officer Marian C. Orayani, in phone interview with BusinessWorld Wednesday, clarified the 2020 amount, which is higher than the P27 billion cited by Mayor Ma. Josefina G. Belmonte in her speech Monday on her 100 days in office.
“As the the needs of our residents grow, so must our capacity to respond to their concerns. This is the rationale behind our proposed budget for 2020, which is P27 billion,” Ms. Belmonte said.
Healthcare will be among the social services that will receive a significant increase at P2 billion from only P550,000 in 2019.
Other priority sectors for development are infrastructure and education.
The proposed budget is subject for review and approval by the city council.
For income-generation, the mayor said they are are expecting higher property tax collection and aim to attract more investments with improvements in the ease of doing business.
The city government has registered an estimated 2,800 new real property units with a P2.3 billion assessed value and an estimated P66 million in additional annual taxes.
Ms. Belmonte earlier said that she plans to put on hold the implementation of higher land fair market values during her three-year term.
The development of innovation and growth hubs is one of the new programs that will be rolled out to expand business opportunities.
In ensuring compliance to the Ease of Doing Business law, a total of 11,000 environmental clearances were issued from Jan. to June 2019 and an additional 15,000 were issued in the three month-period of July to Sept.
“Last year, 30% of all business permits were not in allowable zones and did not have locational clearances… we have ordered full compliance with our zoning ordinance and from 35 approved clearances a day from January to June, these have increased to 150 a day since July,” she said.
Ms. Belmonte also said that occupational permits can now be released as quickly as three minutes and can be processed onsite starting January 2020 for businesses with 300 employees or more.
The city government is also planning tax incentives for all new businesses for the next two years.
They will also establish more business offices that will handle tax payments and other transactions.
Currently, there are satellite offices in Robinsons Mall Novaliches, Ali Mall Cubao, «and soon in Robinsons Mall Magnolia, Robinsons Mall Galleria, Ayala Fairview Terraces, and Fisher Mall.»
For micro entrepreneurs, Ms. Belmonte said that they will organize the ‘Sari-Saring Kyusi’ bazaars during the Christmas season, which will be held in parking lots of several partner malls.
“Malinaw po ang mensahe natin para sa ating mga (Our message is clear to) small businesses sa (in) QC: kung gusto nyo po mag negosyo sa ating syudad, tutulungan namin kayo (if you want to do business in the city, we will help you,” the mayor said.
Small vendors have been affected by the road and sidewalk clearing operations implemented nationwide.
Meanwhile, Ms. Belmonte said they have been taking action on the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak that has affected hog raisers in the city.
The Small Business and Cooperatives Development and Promotions Office has been ordered to include affected hog raisers in the new program Q-CREATE, or the Quezon City Recovery Program for Employment Assistance, Training and Entrepreneurship, especially designed for persons in crisis situations.
“In the meantime, we will be strictly enforcing our Zoning Ordinance prohibiting piggeries in our city and have given all hog raisers up to February 2020 to comply,” Ms. Belmonte said.
The Quezon City mayor said that they have already culled 4,466 hogs from all affected areas and started distributing P13.4 million in financial assistance. — Marc Wyxzel C. Dela Paz