Lipa City mayor tightens belt to fund senior pension, PWD allowance

LIPA CITY, Philippines – One month into his term as the new local chief executive of Lipa City in Batangas, Mayor Eric Africa has instituted cost-saving measures to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of basic services and to fund priority programs.

 Africa said his first days in office were spent reconstituting documents as the previous mayor did not conduct any turnover despite an order released by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Hinanap pa namin ang mga dokumento at kabilang sa mga nadiskubre namin ay ang maraming utang ng Lipa na walang mga kaukulang papeles. Halimbawa na lamang ang utang sa kumpanyang B.Braun Avitum na P11 milyon dahil ginawa na atang 24 hours ang dialysis noong panahon ng kampanya,” he said.

(We were going through the documents and discovered that Lipa had numerous undocumented loans. For example, Lipa owed the company B.Braun Avitum some P11 million because the dilaysis operated 24 hours during that time.)

Africa said the city also owed schools, hospitals and funeral parlors for various services which were left unpaid.

Dahil dito ipinagbawal ko na muna ang travels sa lahat ng mga kawani ng city hall, kahit ako walang byahe. Wala rin akong police patrol o hagad, at nag-utos tayo ng 25% forced savings sa lahat ng tanggapan dito,” he added.

(Because of this, we've cancelled the travel of all city hall employees including myself. I've dropped my police patrol, and ordered a forced savings of 25% on all offices.)

Among his priority programs is the establishment of the Senior Citizen Local Pension which will provide a P500 monthly pension to all bonafide residents of the city. This will be given on top of other allowances provided for by the national government.

Allowances will also be given to PWDs and solo parents who are unemployed.

Inaalam pa lang po natin ang bilang ng mga PWD at solo parents bago po tayo makapag desisyon kung magkano ang allowance na maaaring ibigay sa kanila,” Africa said.

 (We're still counting how many PWD and solo parents are there in the city so we could decide how much allowance we could give them.)

Despite the city’s lack of funds, Africa said he would not impose new, nor would he increase taxes. He is instead pushing for increased efficiency in collection and expediting current processes.  – Rappler.com