ANGELES City Mayor Pogi Lazatin is dead serious when he declared that there will be no increases in the real property taxes (RPT) under his watch. And there will be no increases in permits and other form of payment for those who transact with city hall.
Earlier, it will be recalled when the newly minted mayor met reporters in Clark Freeport before he officially assumed office, he said he will discontinue the construction of a new city hall and the sports complex started by ex-Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan.
The Angeles city government is in the red, meaning Lazatin inherited a cash strapped city hall. My insider said there is only more or less P15 million in the city treasury when Lazatin assumed as mayor. What’s sad is that the city has to contend with unpaid obligations that runs into tens of millions of pesos. On the unpaid electric bill alone, the city owes Angeles Electric Corporation something like P80 million. Ongoing construction of certain roads awarded during the Pamintuan government are yet to be finished. Personally, I get pissed off each day going through Apo road fronting my house in Sto. Domingo which had been bored with holes left unattended.
Lazatin in his first week in office held office from seven in the morning and stayed till evening. In between he inspected several offices. And in tow were Raffy Angeles, his secretary and lawyer Kercee Pineda Lazatin his chief of staff. Given the woeful financial state of the city government Lazatin tasked the city treasury to speed up and improve tax collections to meet obligations. He also at the same time trimmed the workforce by removing unwanted job order employees. I’ve heard the number run to almost 500.
> Around Angeles today, there so many problems that need the attention of the new government. One big problem left by the old administration is the lease of a building in Barangay Malabanas which is quite irregular. City Administrator Willie Rivera is carefully studying some legal options on how to address the problem. Rivera is a known law practitioner and he is a good pick to help the new administration.
> Talking about barangay Malabanas, Barangay Captain Reynaldo “Jumong” Gueco I remember put to task the Angeles City council and wanted to investigate that “some tenants of a mall maybe violating certain provisions of the local government code.”
> Gueco, a known supporter of Lazatin presides over a very progressive local government unit and govern several hotels, clubs and restaurants is host to the SM mall. The highly efficient and very active Kapitan Jumong is well aware of the passage of an amending law, R.A. 9400 which carved out more than thirty (30) hectares of the former Clark Special Economic Zone which is now called Clark Freeport.
> There were several issues Kapitan Gueco wanted the council then to help clarify certain issues, like whether or not Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) workers at SM are not required to secure barangay clearances. Furthermore if the establishments inside the mall are not bound by existing city or barangay ordinances. There are other relevant issues which he posed and are till today begging clarification. Hopefully the new city council will respond promptly.