Dagupan enjoys sound finances despite paying huge loans, says mayor
By Danny O Sagun
Dagupan City (5 March) -- The city government is reviewing stall rentals at the new Malimgas market to determine the rates that will be "within the paying capacity of stallholders," Mayor Alipio F. Fernandez, Jr. disclosed Thursday.
Fernandez said he has referred the matter to the city council headed by Vice-Mayor Belen T. Fernandez for the possible amendment to the city ordinance governing the rates in said public market. "Kung may kataasan at di abot kaya ng mga stallholders, most likely na magkakaroon ng payment delinquencies. Kailangan itugon natin ang rates sa kakayahan nila lalo na yong maliliit," he told the KBP Forum at the Philippine Information Agency.
The previous administration obtained a loan of some P300 million with the Land Bank of the Philippines to fund the construction of the three-storey market building. Revenue projections were not met however because of low occupancy rate apparently due to poor sales. "May feasibility study na ginagawa para makita natin yong cash flow sa nasabing market," he said, noting that the old cash flow projections no longer apply.
Earnings at the market run to about P37 million yearly, short by P3 million of the annual loan amortization of P40 million, it was gathered from the city treasury office.
The city's financial condition is sound in spite of the big monthly repayments for the loan, he said, attributing it to intensified revenue collections. The city collected P489 million in taxes in 2009, an increase of nine percent over the 2008 collection of P436.6 million. The city enjoyed surpluses of P15 million in 2008 and P6 million in 2007 due to efficient collection system and sound fiscal management.
Asked why the city does not operate a university or a medical center, Fernandez said that he does not want to disturb or interfere with what he described as "private sector-driven economic enterprise." "Kaya nga meron tayong Central Bank clearing house dito because of a very strong cash flow," he pointed out.
On reports that Urdaneta City is fast becoming a commercial hub in the North and may in time overtake Dagupan in terms of earnings and being the favorite place for investors, the mayor clarified that the city is not competing with any other city. "Masaya tayo pag lumalaki ang Urdaneta. We have different attributes, they have the highway network. Dito naman meron tayong river systems at coastal area tayo. Dyan tayo magfocus sating mga attributes," he stressed.
He also said that the Bangus Festival this year will be as grand as the former editions with Vice-Mayor Fernandez again as festival chair. "Naging national event na yan at inaabangan na ng mga tao," he said. More than a million gathered for the annual festivity last year. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]