MANILA - San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora on Wednesday said his first 100 days in office have been "good" despite inheriting a P1.2 billion loan from the previous administration.
Zamora, who toppled the Estrada dynasty in the midterm elections, said he had a "very clear road map of what to do for San Juan."
"I believe this was what helped me win. During the campaign, every single day, morning, afternoon, evening, I would really give our people a clear road map of what we would do in the next 3 years," he told ANC's Early Edition.
"And that was why in the first 100 days it was very easy for me actually."
Zamora said the 22-story high-rise public housing that he promised during his campaign has broken ground and would be finished in 2022.
"I promised the people of San Juan that we would build in-city public housing and it would not be the usual 5 stories that they see because there’s no more land available in San Juan," he said.
The housing project, in partnership with the National House Authority, could accommodate 396 families out of 6,000 informal settlers in the city, Zamora said.
"The previous administrations' relocation sites were mostly in Bulacan and Rizal. This really poses a problem to our constituents because if they’re forced to transfer, they’re taken away from their families, where they work, where they go to school. Life becomes hard for them, they have to travel 2-3 hours one-way," he said.
San Juan was also chosen to be the pilot city for the free public wifi project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the mayor said.
Free wifi could already be accessed in the City Hall, Mini Park, and San Juan National High School, while the DICT aims to install free wifi in all public areas in the city by 2023, he added.
The city also scored 100 percent on the Department of the Interior and Local Government's road clearing operations.
Zamora said he suspended pay parking in the city's most traffic-choked roads and urged owners of private idle lands to convert these to parking areas by them giving tax breaks.
Zamora, meantime, revealed his predecessor left him with a P1.2 billion loan, of which P660 million has yet to be paid and another P200 million in interest.
"These are projects but it’s affecting our annual income, because every year we will have to allocate for debt servicing. We will end up with a deficit because of this," he said.
"I was issued a P1.3 billion check by the previous administration but after my first week in office and upon a comprehensive review, we realized this was not enough for San Juan. These are already obligated. What’s sad is they’ve already bidded out most of the things until the end of the year."
Zamora said the previous administration procured P137 million worth of equipment for San Juan Medical Center in June, or a month before he assumed office.
"It’s very questionable, how can San Juan City pay for all of these equipment when not all of them have been tested," he said.
"You cannot even use them because the hospital is not even complete yet. Renovation has not been completed."
The previous administration also bought a spider backhoe worth P40 million, which Zamora found they could not use as it does not fit the city's waterways.
"There's no way to bring it down to our waterways and rivers. Why spend P40 million for something that you cannot use?" he said.
His administration also found that there were "a lot of anomalies" in San Juan Medical Center's issuance of receipts.
"If a constituent pays P25,800, a replicate copy would only show P800, then the P25,000 disappears. In 2017 and 2018, we saw P3 and a half million worth of transactions thru this method," he said.
The previous administration also had P736 million undercollected business taxes and P150 million undercollected real property taxes, Zamora said, citing a Commission on Audit report.
"What we’re doing now is case buildup, and relying on COA to audit all transactions," he said.