Isko: Manila financially drained due to COVID-19

MAYOR Isko Moreno bared that the recent COVID-19 crisis has left Manila financially drained, adding that the city had been losing at least P2 billion a month since the health emergency began.

Moreno said with the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in place, the suspension of public transportation and the stoppage of work and business operations, the city government was also inevitably hit hard.

“Walang nagbabayad ng mga bayarin sa City Hall dahil sarado ang mga negosyo, so, wala ding pumapasok na pera,” Moreno lamented.

City treasurer Jasmin Talegon said that from January to March, before the quarantine took place, the city earned some P7.5 billion.

While no fresh funds are coming in, Talegon said the city government also had to spend a lot of money to sustain its citizens during the ECQ and specially during lockdowns, not to mention the expenses entailed by working against the coronavirus disease and taking care of those who get infected.

Moreno said that Manila’s population, which he earlier estimated to be about 1.8 million, turned out to be a lot higher and thus took a heavy toll on the funds of the city.

Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna said based on lists given by the heads of barangays, the total number of families in Manila is now at least 680,000 and if you multiply this by five or even just three on the average, it would mean that Manila now has a population of three million, more or less.

Apart from the distribution of food boxes on at least two occasions, Lacuna said the city government also distributed P1,000 per family twice already since the ECQ began.  Said cash assistance is from the city amelioration crisis assistance fund or CACAF, for which the city spent at least P1.3 billion.

Moreno said with the help of the city council headed by Lacuna as its presiding officer, the city government also released the city’s monthly financial aid to senior citizens, solo parents, persons with disability and students from the city-run universities, among others.

Just recently, Moreno decided to already release the mid-year bonus of the city’s 10,300 regular employess to help them cope with the current crisis.