September 12, 2014
So Makati is Overpriced. Is Taguig Any Better?
After all this talk on the overpricing of the Makati Building, let’s see if Taguig has done any better itself in keeping its expenses acceptable.
To be fair, let’s give props to Mayor Lani Cayetano for initiating transparency and having a section on their website entitled Full Disclosure.
But some items just prove that, being a first class city, the expenses of Taguig are not very different from Makati, in spite of the castigating stance the senator from Taguig has taken against the Binays during the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings. Apparently Taguig has some mind-boggling expenses itself.
Here are some interesting items:
1. P7.5 MILLION in Local Travelling Expenses
How much local travelling does Taguig intend to do? Unless this is for a national campaign …
2. P10 MILION for Advertising
With the high cost of air time today, at around P300,000 for 30 seconds on prime time, that would be understandable. Give or take a budget of P2 Million for production cost, that would give you 25 runs of one ad. But does a city that is already booming and flooded in investments really have to spend this much on advertising? More to the point of the 2016 elections, does the superstar of the city’s ad really have to be (tada!) presidential contender Senator Alan Cayetano? Why is the senator the one speaking and not the mayor of the city? Wouldn’t the City of Taguig best be represented in its ad by its mayor? And finally, with all that is to be appreciated about Taguig, does the ad’s message really have to be “anti-corruption”?
Here’s the ad of Taguig starring Senator Alan Peter Cayetano:
3. P25 MILLION for Tourism and Trade MOOE
Note that the P10 Million Advertising Expense is distinct from the Tourism and Trade Maintenance and Other Operating Expenditure of P25 Million – even if the thrust of the ad starring the Senator cum Presidentiable from Taguig is already to boost investment and tourism.
4. P7.5 Million Confidential/Intelligence Expenses
We don’t even know what to make of this. This is just plain scary.
5. P90 MILLION on Motor Vehicles
A whopping P90 Million has been allocated for Motor Vehicles. Even at P1 Million per vehicle, that’s 90 vehicles. Does Taguig really need all those vehicles?
Recall that the price of almost half a million per unit for multi-cabs had already previously been questioned. See this article in Tribune and this article in the Philippine Star. In his defense, Senator Alan Cayetano has said that these multi cabs, twice the price of those purchased by Makati, were brand new. Still, it’s a lot of money to spend on vehicles.
Just for some perspective, it is interesting to note that Taguig’s expenses on vehicles alone (P90 Million) is more than twice the ENTIRE ANNUAL budget of South Cotabato in 2013 (P38 Million).
And while Taguig spends P10 Million on unnecessary ads, South Cotabato only has P2 Million to spend for school facilities for its youth. Um … how about creating legislation to address this imbalance instead, oh wise senators of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee?
I am sure that in their pristine world where they are untainted and righteous, those who are using up senate hours to discuss Makati instead of the national issue of the DAP, or the national issue that is the proposed Freedom of Information Act, or the national issue that is the energy crisis, can justify the use of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee week after week after week to discuss how despicable the leading contender in the 2016 elections is instead. They might even argue that this will boost the economy and ease poverty.
But dear Senators using the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee for media mileage, what is the use of the Office of the Ombudsman? What laws can you craft from the case of Makati that aren’t already in place?
Every major city likely has items that are overpriced. How can P10 Million be a prudent budget for ads? Do you really need P90 Million for vehicles? Of course the Binays need to be scrutinized … but really, is Taguig any better?
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