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Erap mulls reduction of Manila hospitals, hike property taxes

MANILA, Philippines - The coffers of the nation's capital city are empty and its government is in dire need of new sources of revenues, new Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said on Friday.

The former president said they are studying the reduction of six public hospitals in Manila to lower government expenses and save money.

"As far as I'm concerned... putting up six hospitals in Manila is too much... the maintenance [cost] is too big," Estrada said in a television interview on Friday morning.

"[Having six hospitals] is eating a lot of the budget of the city... Then the people are complaining [that] you cannot give them medicines... [and there's a] lack of doctors," he claimed.

He said  there  should only be  two or three Manila hospitals and let major operations be conducted at the national hospitals that  also need to be  improved  such as the Philippine General Hospital.

"You have to study all this so the budget, the finance of the city should be properly handled," said Estrada.

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The new Manila mayor is also eyeing an increase in property taxes in the city, which have not been raised in the past four to five years.

Owing to  the present budget constraints of Manila, Estrada said he will just first focus on the city's security and cleanliness.

"Whatever project you want to implement, it all boils down to funding. But you don't have funds. So I thought of in my first 100 days concentrating on the peace and order," Estrada said.

He vowed to go after corrupt officials in the city hall and in the Manila Police District.

Related story: Erap: More heads will roll in Manila's 'worst' police

"Pray for Manila," the deposed president said.

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