DAGUPAN CITY—Humbled by its recent glory as the nation’s most child-friendly city under the component city category, Dagupan continues to inspire the people of Region 1 when it became the first city in Ilocos to barge into the P1-billion mark in its annual budget for 2019.
This after its Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) finally passed the annual budget of the city during a special session called by Mayor Belen T. Fernandez on December 7. The SP passed the budget in the amount of P1.010 billion, an appropriation that will cover the various expenditures of the city government for the year 2019. The amount is the biggest annual budget ever approved in the history of the city and the highest among all eight cities in Region 1.
Only 50 square kilometers in land area and about one-fourth of it is fishpond that produces the tasty Bonuan bangus, Dagupan is today’s leading city in Region 1 in point of economic dynamism and opportunities as gleaned from last year’s competitive index of the Department of Trade and Industry in Region 1.
Councilor Jeslito Seen is confident the newly passed annual budget will be realized due to projected increased economic activities in the city next year. Seen, chairman of the committee on finance and appropriations, moved for the passage of next year’s annual budget.
Seen said that of the approved annual budget, P366,421,887 will go to general public services; P331,650,180 to Social Services; P205,683,785 to Economic Services; and P126,244,146 to Other Services.
The budget for next year is only P62 million higher than the annual budget of Dagupan in fiscal year 2017 in the amount of P948 million.
Since Fernandez’s election in 2013 after serving for two terms as vice mayor, the city’s income rose dramatically by close to 50 percent. The annual budget of the city in 2014 was P628 million, which increased to P691 million in 2015 and P768 million in 2016. When Fernandez took over, the annual budget of Dagupan, courtesy of the past city administration, was only P612 million.
Also approved by the SP during its special session is the Annual Investment Plan (AIP) of the city for FY 2019, including its supporting plans, in the amount of P1.48 billion.
Fernandez said that, while next year’s budget increased, there will be no increase in taxes and no new taxes will be levied upon the people and businesses.
She added the higher budget will be plugged through intensive collection of taxes, many of which, she said, will actually come from new businesses that have sprouted in the city during the past few years.
Among these is the Golden Dragon’s City Mall on Barangay Mayombo, which opened early this year. There’s also the SM Hyper Mart on M.H. del Pilar Street and Santa Lucia Realty, which is developing a high-end subdivision in Barangay Salisay.
Fernandez noted there are businesses that have come to the city and took advantage of the “no red-tape, no graft and corruption” policy adopted by the Dagupan City Investment and Development Board.
Other big investments coming to the city include Filinvest, which will soon begin building at least 11 condominium buildings with seven floors each in Barangay Lucao, according to the mayor. She also expect the multi-story ACE Hospital, to be put up by Manila doctors and set to rise soon, also in Barangay Lucao.
Dagupan is currently the center of business, education and health care in Pangasinan with a population of more than three million people.
City Councilor Alvin Coquia said the budget of Dagupan next year is an indication of a vibrant economy and an unprecedented business boom in the city that was never experience before.