Top Manila taxpayers feted | By: Sandy Araneta | June 27, 2017

Expressing his sincerest gratitude to the city’s taxpayers, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has bestowed honors to exceptional Manilans and top companies whom he said greatly helped the city rebound from its lost pride and deep financial crisis.

During the awarding ceremonies for Outstanding Manilans and Top Business Taxpayers of 2016 at the Manila Hotel on Friday as part of the celebration of the 446th Araw ng Maynila, Estrada said the city “is grateful for the opportunity to express its gratitude to those who have been instrumental in helping us rise from the ashes of the past.”

From a bankrupt city government in 2013 when he assumed office with unpaid debts of P5.5 billion, the mayor said Manila is now financially stable, and actively implementing infrastructure projects that will be “the backdrop of its future.”

“To a great extent, we accomplished this because we had generous cooperative partners from the private sector, whose taxes have laid the groundwork for many of our most important projects and programs,” Estrada said.

As to the Outstanding Manilans, he said these Manileños went on to do great things but never forgot the city of their birth. “Their deeds have brought much honor to Manila, and inspired our young people to reach for their dreams as well.”

Leading the awardees for Outstanding Manilans was the late Tondo-born architect Juan Arellano, who designed the Metropolitan Theater, the Legislative Building that now houses the National Museum, and the Manila Central Post Office Building. He died on Dec. 5, 1960 at the age of 72.

His son Jose Arellano and Estrada’s childhood friend accepted the prestigious Gawad Gat Andres Bonifacio, the city’s highest award.

“I’m confident and without any doubt that my father, Architect Juan Arellano, wherever he might be now, is very happy and proud, at nagpapasalamat kay Mayor Erap,” Arellano’s son said in thanking Estrada and the organizers.

The other Outstanding Manilans awardees are veteran actress Boots Anson Roa, president of the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund); fashion designer Ben Farrales; Ramon Orlina, architect and “Father of Filipino Glass Sculpture”; creative writer and linguist Patrocino Villasan Villafuerte; Auraeus Solito, filmmaker and advocate of indigenous people’s rights in Palawan; National Bookstore founder Socorro Ramos; Amelia Lapena-Bonifacio, Grand Lady of Philippine Puppet Theater; and Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara.

Leading the Top 10 Business Taxpayers for 2016, on the other hand, is the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), which paid a total of P149.56 million in taxes last year.

Second is port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), which paid P93.60 million in taxes, followed by SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (P61.63 million); Mercury Drug Corp. (P50.31 million); Unilever Philippines, Inc. (P49.49 million);  Asian Terminals, Inc. (P41.36 million); Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (P35.48 million); Philippine Star Daily, Inc. (P27.46 million); Puregold Price Club, Inc. (P25.42 million); and Golden Arches Development Corp. (Mc Donald’s) (P19.23 million).