Erap credited for fixing Manila’s financial trouble

By Ben Rosario (Manila Bulletin)

In deep financial trouble four years, ago, the city government of Manila has made a strong rebound three years later when it was able to gain a 144 percent improvement of its net income which stood at P3.54 billion in 2014, the Commission on Audit disclosed over the weekend.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada’s handling of the city income may have made wonders for the city government that trimmed a swelled payroll and raised  revenue collections in 2014, the recently-released annual audit report.

However, the payroll remained high under the standard set by Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

In the same audit report, COA lamented that some P213.6 million in financial assistance turned over by the Philippine Gaming Corporation was allocated to the city mayor and members of the city council “without legal basis.”

State auditors said the law provides that the city’s personal services allocation should not have exceeded P2.95 billion or the equivalent of 45 percent of the preceding year’s income of P6.557 billion.

Salaries and wages for the city workers reached P3.77 billion or about P821.25 million more than the allowable amount.

The COA report disclosed that the city revenue collection improved by 32.54 percent.  Based on the latest audit report on the city released last October 9, the city’ revenue collection was up 32.54 percent or P1.08 billion higher than 2013.

Just three years earlier, the COA, in its 2011 audit report, issued a warning that Manila is heading into deep financial trouble with P3.553 billion in current liabilities against available cash of only P1.006 billion.

The city payroll however remains a trouble spot for Manila as state auditors noted that under the law, the city’s personal services budget should not have exceeded P2.95 billion which is equivalent to 45 percent of the preceding year’s income of P6.557 billion.