MAKE no doubt about it. The City of Muntinlupa has been reaping recognition and praises of late in various fronts—as an ever-progressive and highly urbanized local government unit (LGU) led by incumbent Mayor Jaime Fresnedi.
Fostering growth and progress, Muntinlupa City is home to at least 15,400 registered businesses—a record increase in the number of establishments, which has generated significant impact to the LGU’s business-tax collections since 2012.
One such effort is the city government’s strengthening of its JRFP Tulong Negosyo financing program for budding entrepreneurs, which provides assistance by way of zero-interest loans. Through this, small entrepreneurs can apply for loans from P3,000 up to P150,000.
Now serving more than 6,500 business owners, the program has been the subject of various benchmarking efforts by other cities and municipalities.
On January 9 a financial assistance amounting to P1.5 million was awarded to 92 entrepreneurs belonging to a group called “Batch 96”. In partnership with the LGU Gender and Development Office, they received monetary loans ranging from as low as P3,000 to a high of P75,000.
As a result of these initiatives and more, no-less than the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)hailed the southern Metro as the “most business-friendly LGU in 2017 and 2018, as manifested by the unbridled growth of businesses and enterprises in consecutive years.”
PCCI Muntinlupa President Elvie Sanchez-Quiazo attributed this development to the current administration’s thrust in promoting innovations to streamline business-application processes, which was reflected in its 2019 business permit-renewal program that took place this month.
Proof of such was the successful campaign of the city government’s Business Permits and Licensing Office for business owners to settle their dues early in the month to avoid penalties and skip “rush days” of registration.
The business group’s local chapter is confident of the administration of Fresnedi as the local chief executive, as he leads the city to greater heights in trade and investments.
Quoting Sanchez-Quiazo: “Our continued optimism over Mayor Fresnedi’s commitment to bring real change has been credited to the implementation of innovations not only for the business community, but also for all Muntinlupa [City] residents.”
MUNTINLUPA City also boasts of its financial strength with the local government officially declaring itself as “debt-free” for 2019. This, as it settled a P2-billion loan contract from the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Land Bank of the Philippines, is yet to be due on September 2021.
According to its books, a total of P1.012 billion in loans and P175 million in interest were incurred in the city’s previous administration, which also involved unsettled obligations for garbage services, gasoline suppliers and terminal fees.
According to Public Information Officer Tez Navarro, the lending banks have certified that, as of January 2019, Muntinlupa City has been cleared of all its loans. She said Fresnedi “has set aside funds annually for the debts, and ensured [their] efficient utilization, as well as other resources, to settle all balances.”
Navarro said that, from 2013, the local government had started to pay off all its loans until completion in 2019—more than two years ahead of the original loan-payment schedule.
Big on education
THE city government also strives to deliver more far-reaching, yet inclusive, services to its constituents with the expansion of educational assistance to its local students.
A pilot initiative for college students, the Muntinlupa scholarship program (MSP) has offered a more comprehensive bracketing system covering all levels, including those taking up master and doctorate degrees, medicine and law.
The MSP now caters to scholars in the city numbering to 60,000.
On January 14 the local government hosted the landmark visit of Unicef and Early Childhood Care and Development Council delegates, which expressed its interest to observe and learn from the city’s best practices on early-childhood education.
Early this month the local government also hosted the 20th International Robot Olympiad, which saw the Philippine delegation capture 76 medals, crowned by three golds in humanoid archery, three silvers, 13 bronzes, 35 technical medals and 24 high-commendation awards.
For its best practices in recent years, Muntinlupa City has garnered countless citations and recognitions from local and international organizations, including the Seal of Local Good Governance in 2015 and Most Child-Friendly (National Capital Region) in 2017, among others.