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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THERE is no need to increase taxes to gain financial independence and implement projects, according to a mayoralty hopeful in Iloilo City.

Presidential adviser on water Lorenzo “Larry” Jamora said he will improve tax collection in the city to fund projects that will solve prevalent problems in the city such as bad roads and clogged drainage.

Jamora, a former administrator of Local Water Utilities Administration, said other urban centers such as Quezon City were able to jack up their revenues by improving their collections.

“We don’t need to increase taxes, we just have to improve collection efficiency. There is a need to look at how much we spend to collect P1 tax. If we are spending P5 for every P1 tax, then we are at a losing proposition,” Jamora said.

Jamora said he will also adopt “financial engineering” by offering more incentives to investors such as business processes outsourcing (BPO) firms.

He said incentives will entice investors to set up business in Iloilo City and generate jobs and increase the purchasing power of Ilonggos.

As regards the high cost of power and water shortage, Jamora said tax incentives will lessen the burden of investors who have to pay more for utilities.

Public markets managed by the city can be improved and generate more income through the build-operate-transfer scheme or public-private partnership, Jamora said.

“If we partner with the private sector, the city government will not spend a dime to improve our markets. We will even earn more from the market rentals,” he added.

Jamora will also bat for the revival of the Villa Beach area by reclaiming part of the sea and construction of a coastal road.

He said the projects can be implemented via public-private partnership to ease the City Government of possible financial burden.

“There is also no need to relocate the squatters in the Villa Beach area if we put up a coastal road and revive the beach. We have to reclaim the beach because we are depriving our children of a popular tourist spot that was very popular before,” he added.

On garbage disposal, Jamora said there is a need to close down the Calajunan dumpsite and put up a landfill outside the city.

“The trend nowadays is to find local government units that are willing to host landfills as these could generate income on their part,” he said.

Jamora said the Perimeter Boundary Ordinance (PBO) failed to loosen traffic congestion in Iloilo City. Instead, he proposed a selective color coding scheme to regulate the number of vehicles in the city.

“We can give window time to the color coding scheme by allowing private cars to go out on certain time of the day,” he said.

As regards his political party, Jamora said he can run as an independent if complications arise from his membership in the administration group.

Jamora is a member of Kapatiran ng Mamayang Pilipino which is in alliance with Lakas-CMD where Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez Sr. is also a member.

Gonzalez will also run for city mayor.

“I have talked to Sec. Gonzalez about this. He said the matter will be referred to the arbitration committee to settle the issue. Whatever is the result, I will still run even as an independent,” Jamora said.

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