Despite the city’s financial obligations totaling P3.8 billion, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez on Monday vowed that he will not impose new taxes to pay off debts.
In his inaugural address at Parañaque City Hall, Olivarez revealed that the city is “in dire financial straits” due to the P1.8-billion loan incurred by the previous administration from the Land Bank of the Philippines.
He said he was also informed by the City Treasurer that Parañaque has outstanding obligations with Meralco, Maynilad and other contractors and suppliers amounting to P2 billion.
Olivarez said the solution to the city’s P3.8-billion outstanding loans and payables is not “to impose new taxes but more efficient and effective collection.”
“We must increase our revenue collection because that is the lifeblood of any local government unit. And we must return to the people every single cent we collect in terms of social services and infrastructure development,” he said.
He challenged all revenue-generating departments—from the City Treasurer’s Office to the Business Permits and Licensing Office—to “vigorously” collect taxes to fund Parañaque’s development program.
The city mayor said he will ask the new City Council, headed by Vice Mayor Rico Golez, to review the ordinance passed during the Bernabe administration, which authorized a 300-percent increase in real-property tax. The implementation of the ordinance has been put on hold due to a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court.
Olivarez said he will propose to the City Council a one-time amnesty program for the payment of real-property tax to encourage property owners to settle their obligations with the city government.
“This amnesty will be the first and last such amnesty that I will be proposing under my administration. Such a measure, to my mind, will increase our revenue and allow the city government to implement much-needed projects and programs for our people,” he said.
Olivarez revealed his plan to put up Parañaque’s own city college, which will be named Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Parañaque. He noted that Parañaque is one of the few remaining cities in Metro Manila without its own city college.
He also vowed to increase benefits for senior citizens, saying that the Office of Senior Citizen’s Affairs plans to issue a movie booklet for senior citizens that will entitle them to watch movies for free all year round.
Olivarez assured all 16 barangay chairmen who were present during his inauguration that he will ensure the timely release of the Internal Revenue Allotment share of each barangay.
“There will be no favoritism in this matter and each barangay will receive what is due them on time and without delay,” he said.
The inaugural program was attended by the mayor’s father, former Mayor Pablo Olivarez, the city’s two congressmen, Rep. Eric Olivarez and Rep. Gus Tambunting, Vice Mayor Rico Golez and the entire City Council.