Mayor Kois: The boy from the slums has arrived

MANILANS have another reason to feel proud of their city and their mayor.

During his state of the nation address the other day, President Rodrigo Roa-Duterte directed various national government agencies to lead the way in transitioning to online systems, saying it’s high time to do away with long queues. 

Indeed, with a lot of public offices now operating on skeletal force, a number of which are even forced to temporarily shut down once in a while when some of their staff get infected with COVID-19 to give way to contract tracing and disinfection, the public’s access to certain services have become inevitably limited. Unknown to President Duterte, while he was giving the orders to certain departments, the City of Manila had been doing it for six months now, way before the declaration of the national health emergency.

In fact, Mayor Isko Moreno had been urging business operators and taxpayers in Manila to download the 'GO MANILA' app  in their  mobile cellphones and gadgets, for easier business dealings with the city government and thousands have already availed of it from the day it was launched in January.

Using the said app, one can pay while in the comfort of his own home, save time, effort and transportation and do away with possible exposure to the coronavirus. Mayor Kois also stresses the benefit of not having to spend too much time looking for a parking area and being able to pay beyond the normal office hours of from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. since the online system is available round-the-clock.

The said mobile app, according to Mayor Kois, provides a fast, easy, effective and convenient manner of engaging various services and a more secure and cost-effective means to access a full range of payments and financial services that will reach not only the constituents of the city locally, but even globally.

In fact, a huge number of those who own properties or businesses in the city but are based abroad have particularly expressed gratitude that Mayor Kois came up with the online system of transacting business with the various offices in Manila City Hall.

Among others, the city government’s electronic system allows taxpayers to pay their computed business taxes online. This system helps ease the access of citizens to their businesses’ information and automate the assessment of fees, taxes and charges. In the same way, the e-system is also designed to facilitate easy payment of the assessed and appraised real property taxes, thus cutting down the processing time, increasing document-production capacity and thus supports decision making.

The local civil registry also now entertains applications online for anyone who wishes to get a copy of his birth certificate while the community tax certificate, more popularly known as ‘cedula,’ may now also be applied for and paid online by individuals and corporations alike. 

In the case of occupational permits and health certificates, there is now an electronic application that integrates them with laboratory processses for individuals that pursue an occupation from a single proprietor or corporation, whether permanent or temporary, working within the jurisdiction of Manila.

Motorists who get apprehended for traffic violations in the city may also make use of an online payment facility in settling their ordinance violation receipts (OVRs) and as of this writing, Mayor Kois said an online management system is being worked out to serve the beneficiaries of the social amelioration programs, particularly the senior citizens, persons with disability, single parents and students.

An electronic management and administration system that integrates hospitals and health centers of the city is also in the offing, along with a Manila public market management and administration system while an online job portal is also now available to help Manilans find jobs and aid employers in and out of the city to locate probable and ideal employees. This service is managed by the Manila Public Employment Services Office (PESO).

What’s  amazing amid all these is the fact that Mayor Kois had been unselfishly offering to share the effective and efficient online system now in place in Manila with interested local government units free of charge, just as he also got it at no cost to him or the city.

The mayor does this with all the good intentions in mind, seeing the importance of lessening physical contact and social interaction since this is basically how COVID-19 is transmitted fast.

At the rate he excels in public service and in many ways think ahead of his counterparts and even those in national agencies, only goes to show that he really deserves to lead Manila, which he helped regain its status as the country’s capital city. 

Indeed, this once smelly, filthy ‘high school finish’ scavenger from the slums of Tondo has arrived.

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