CONFUSING SOCA
    Boking boasts P1.6-B income

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    MAKATI OF THE NORTH. A jampacked SM City Clark Events Center reverberates with the accomplishments and vision of Mayor Marino Morales towards making Mabalacat City the northern counterpart of the country’s premier business center.

    PHOTOS BY BONG LACSON

    MABALACAT CITY- Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales reported Monday that the local government has earned P1.631 billion in total revenues from local collections since it became a city two years ago.

    In his State-of-the-City address at the SM City Clark mall, Morales noted that of the total amount, some P1.2 billion was raised in 2013 alone from “local taxes, permits and licenses.” Morales’ prepared speech furnished to Punto and other media, however, contained figures and statements that seemed to clash.

    Punto took note of a section of his speech saying that from being a mere municipality whose income was only P33 million in 1995, this city has become “a vibrant community with P727 million this year” and that “this is projected to reach P777 million by 2015.”

    Punto also noted lack of clarity on the issue of raising taxes. While one part of the speech cited P1.631 billion income “despite our pledge not to raise taxes during the campaign for cityhood”, the next paragraph noted “the increase in the taxes and revenues that accrued to our city that enabled us to clear most of our debts and our other obligations, including those that the law authorizes us to release to our employees.”

    Clarification on these confl icting statements could not be immediately obtained in time for press deadline. Morales’ 15-page speech also cited his accomplishments in health, education, environmental sanitation, employment generation, social welfare and peace and order.

    He noted cultural activities that could boost local tourism. He noted that three rural health units (RHUs) in the city have become PhiHealth accredited for primary health care benefits and tuberculosis treatment. “The prevalence of diabetes is alarming. In our country, our region has the highest number of patients undergoing dialysis.

    This prompted our doctors to organize a diabetic clinic and diabetic clubs in the barangays which is another first in the province,” he said. Morales cited a P14 million assistance from Gov. Lilia Pineda for the expansion of the Mabalacat district hospital and for the upgrading of the hospital’s equipment.

    He also boasted of three birthing stations “where there have been 5,541 deliveries since they started operations The mayor also cited the Mabalacat City College (MCC) which he had founded. “It now has 10 courses in its five institutes, namely, teacher education, tourism, computer technology, business education, and arts and sciences,” he noted.

    Morales reported that MCC has about 900 government scholars whose tuition is from city funds. “We continue to provide five percent from the general fund for the operation of the collage,” he added. “To date, Mabalacat City College has produced 808 graduates and they’re now making their own contributions to the world.

    At present, it has a student population of 2,948 and this figure is bound to increase in the coming years,” he said. He cited plans to construct a 10-classroom building costing P10 million in front of the present campus, plus the construction of a branch at the Dapdap resettlement.

    Meanwhile, Morales also noted that “our people are beginning to understand the importance of proper waste collection” that led to P1 million savings in the local government’s garbage disposal funds. Job generation, he noted, has also been a priority of the city.

    “This year alone, a total of 234 persons have been trained in various courses like call center, plumbing, computer servicing, among others. There were also 660 individuals who benefitted in various livelihood training courses like candle-making, cassava product making, beauty care, and many more,” he said.

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