Net worthy

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    QUARRY REVENUES have topped a whopping P1.919 billion by the end of October this year dating from the ascendancy of Lilia G. Pineda to the governorship of Pampanga in July 2010.

    From January to October 2016, collections amounted to P311,420,000 – more than the quarry revenues from the full years of 2010 to 2013. Last month’s collection alone totaled P29,980,000 beating all October records in the past six years.

    At the current rate of things, we have to agree with the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office that the all-time highest annual total of P343,160,000 in 2014 will be breached this year. Well into reaching – with more than enough to spare – Gov. Pineda’s set target of P2 billion in quarry collections before she steps down in June 2019.

    The quarry revenues long time euphemized as “the jewel in the sand” find their greatest sparkle in the programs and projects the Pineda administration poured upon Pampanga redounding to the socio-economic well-being of the cabalen constituency.

    Yeah, no governor has ever collected as much revenues for the provincial coffers, and delivered as much services to the people other than the Kapampangan’s Nanay. Indeed, as old time observers avow, the accomplishments of all past governors combine can only approximate but a third of hers.

    With such sound fiscal management of local resources, it comes naturally for Pampanga to be catapulted to the 10 Richest Provinces of the Philippines – the one and only from Central Luzon in that crème de la crème roster.

    Based on the 2015 Annual Financial Report of the Commission on Audit – the latest from the constitutional agency – Pampanga has a net worth of P4.24 billion, out of assets worth P5.59 billion and liabilities of P1.35 billion. Truly worth the Seal of Good Local Governance bestowed upon the provincial government recently by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

    The elite list is led by perennial topnotcher Cebu at P28.53 billion net worth, followed by Rizal, P8.11 billion; Negros Occidental, P5.6 billion; Laguna, P5 billion; Negros Oriental, P4.96 billion; Pangasinan, P4.76 billion; Cavite, P4.59 billion; Batangas, P4.5 billion; Leyte, P4.45 billion; and Pampanga.

    In the same COA Report, the City of San Fernando registered a net worth of P1.54 billion, commensurate to its elevation to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s hall of fame as Most Business-Friendly Component City.

    How the city government managed its resources though is not as clearly transparent as the provincial government’s. Why, this biased bystander sees the folly in that newly completed complete bridge leading smack to the back of a house in Barangay San Jose as single, greatest representation of the Santiago administration’s public spending.

    Highly urbanized Angeles City on the other hand notched P1.29 billion net worth, which does not do justice any to its No. 8 World Mayor Prize winner Edgardo Pamintuan. Nor to the city itself, long heralded as Central Luzon’s premier cosmopolitan hub.

    Ain’t San Fernando – by the admission of Mayor Edwin Santiago himself – but a veritable subordinate suburb to Angeles in terms of development opportunities?

    What gives with this sudden reversal of fortune, so to speak? I wonder what Northern Luzon’s premier business club – the Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industry – has to say on this seeming fiscal performance anomaly.

    I grant that Mabalacat City has still long ways to go playing catch-up with its fellow cities with its P546.44 million net worth.

    Still, that the “engine of economic development of the country” that is the Clark Freeport Zone and all the peripheral developments it generates are shared in virtual duopoly by Angeles and Mabalacat, yet San Fernando beat them in terms of financial net worth bespeak volumes in interpretations, conjectures, even malicious speculations on management styles of their leaders. On their very integrity as well.

    Else, they have to prove the 2015 COA Report got it all wrong.

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