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The cities of Makati, Tagaytay, and Pasig are the top three cities in the Philippines in terms of per capita income in 2009, while the cities of Bayawan (Negros Oriental), San Fernando (Pampanga), and San Jose Del Monte (Bulacan) are the bottom-dwellers. This is according to a May 2012 report by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

Per capita income refers to the total income earned divided by the city’s total population. In a sense, the figures show how effective and efficient the local government unit (LGU) is in producing income.

True, LGUs are not in the business of making money, but the data show how efficient (or inefficient) they are in using their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) — or budget allocated to them by the national government — and how productive their initiatives are in generating economic activity in their city.

The top 10 Philippine cities with the highest per capita income are as follows. The average per capita income of the Philippines, considering all cities, is only P3,951.

Top 10 Cities in the Philippines with Highest Per Capita Income

RankCityRegion2009 Per Capita Income (in PHP)
-PHILIPPINES (AVERAGE) 3,951
1MAKATI CITYNCR16,535
2TAGAYTAY CITYIV-A10,061
3PASIG CITYNCR8,816
4SAN JUAN CITYNCR7,367
5PARANAQUE CITYNCR7,197
6OLONGAPO CITYIII7,191
7MANDALUYONG CITYNCR6,944
8MUNTINLUPA CITYNCR6,791
9SANTIAGO CITYII6,549
10STA. ROSA CITYIV-A6,518

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As expected, Makati City, as the primary business district in the country, registered the highest per capita income with P16,535 — almost four times the national average.

Popular tourist destination Tagaytay City is second, with per capita income of P10,061.

Pasig City, location of the Ortigas Business District, is third with P8,816 per capita income.

Other Metro Manila cities with their own business districts, such as Quezon City, Manila, and Taguig, are conspicuously absent from the Top 10 per capita income list but are still money-makers overall.

Quezon City, for example, is actually the No.1 city in terms of total income, posting a huge P10.3 billion income in 2009. Manila is No. 3 while Taguig City (location of The Fort Global City) is No. 10 in the total income list. Despite huge total incomes, these cities have low per capita income because of the large number of their population.

Top 10 Cities in the Philippines with Highest Total Income

RankCityRegion2009 Total Income (in PHP)
-PHILIPPINES 131,374,897,012
1QUEZON CITYNCR10,327,808,344
2MAKATI CITYNCR8,948,823,032
3MANILA CITYNCR8,861,500,919
4PASIG CITYNCR5,111,761,347
5DAVAO CITYXI4,263,887,293
6CEBU CITYVII4,087,578,638
7CALOOCAN CITYNCR3,740,372,305
8PARANAQUE CITYNCR3,716,615,016
9MUNTINLUPA CITYNCR2,957,347,199
10TAGUIG CITYNCR2,934,107,172

Taxes, such as local government taxes, business registration, real property taxes, and others, remain to be the cities’ primary source of revenue. In the case of Quezon City, taxes comprise 64% of the city’s total income. Makati City gets 84% of its total income from taxes, while the share of taxes in Manila City’s total income is 46%.

The Top 10 Philippine cities with highest tax revenues are as follows.

Top 10 Cities in the Philippines with Highest Tax Revenues

RankCityRegion2009 Total Tax Revenues (in PHP)
-PHILIPPINES 49,251,757,173
1MAKATI CITYNCR7,489,585,749
2QUEZON CITYNCR6,581,436,897
3MANILA CITYNCR4,045,248,190
4PASIG CITYNCR3,096,420,007
5PARANAQUE CITYNCR1,604,650,009
6PASAY CITYNCR1,603,574,872
7MANDALUYONG CITYNCR1,455,984,450
8CALOOCAN CITYNCR1,350,464,080
9CEBU CITYVII1,344,992,518
10DAVAO CITYXI1,298,467,466

While most Metro Manila cities enjoy high incomes, those from the Visayas and Mindanao suffer from poor incomes and low tax collection.

Bottom 10 Cities in the Philippines in Terms of Per Capita Income

RankCityRegion2009 Per Capita Income (in PHP)
-PHILIPPINES (AVERAGE) 3,951
134BAYAWAN CITY (NEGROS ORIENTAL)VII1,114
133SAN FERNANDO CITY (PAMPANGA)III1,298
132SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY (BULACAN)III1,707
131CARCAR CITY (CEBU)VII1,738
130CAVITE CITYIV-A2,026
129TALISAY CITY (CEBU)VII2,080
128MALABON CITYNCR2,111
127CATBALOGAN CITY (SAMAR)VIII2,133
126GUIHULNGAN CITY (NEGROS ORIENTAL)VII2,137
125CAGAYAN DE ORO CITYX2,163

Bottom 10 Cities in the Philippines in Terms of Total Income

RankCityRegion2009 Total Income (in PHP)
-PHILIPPINES 131,374,897,012
134EL SALVADOR CITY (MISAMIS ORIENTAL)X122,847,003
133BAYAWAN CITY (NEGROS ORIENTAL)VII132,509,872
132BOGO CITY (CEBU)VII170,627,839
131TANDAG CITY (SURIGAO DEL CUR)CARAGA173,679,970
130LAMITAN CITY (BASILAN)ARMM175,890,565
129BATAC CITY (ILOCOS NORTE)I180,778,686
128CARCAR CITY (CEBU)VII190,821,440
127TAYABAS CITY (QUEZON)IV-A198,623,702
126PALAYAN CITY (NUEVA ECIJA)III203,658,566
125GUIHULNGAN CITY (NEGROS ORIENTAL)VII212,200,270

Bottom 10 Cities in the Philippines in Terms of Tax Revenues

RankCityRegion2009 Tax Revenues (in PHP)
-PHILIPPINES 49,251,757,173
134GUIHULNGAN CITY (NEGROS ORIENTAL)VII3,795,869
133PALAYAN CITY (NUEVA ECIJA)III4,221,669
132LAMITAN CITY (BASILAN)ARMM4,756,089
131CANLAON CITY (NEGROS ORIENTAL)VII4,882,848
130TANGUB CITY (MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL)X5,341,807
129BORONGAN CITY (EASTERN SAMAR)VIII6,705,784
128DAPITAN CITY (ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE)IX7,291,720
127TABUK CITY (KALINGA)CAR7,399,452
126ISABELA CITYIX8,694,701
125SIPALAY CITY (NEGROS OCCIDENTAL)VI10,133,726

The NSCB report puts forward several recommendations that can help bridge the gap between best-performing and worst-performing cities in the country. According to the NSCB:

  1. Some cities should share their savings (either in the form of loans or grants) to other “poorer” cities.
  2. LGUs should learn from the best practices of the better-performing cities in terms of tax collection, income generation, and economic initiatives.
  3. Economic activities in “richer” cities should be taxed higher than those in “poorer” cities.

This report is a commendable move on the part of the NSCB and should serve as a wake-up call to leaders of LGUs who lag behind their counterparts and to the national government which must strive to achieve a sustainable and equitable distribution of wealth among all Filipinos.

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