Incoming local execs asked to strengthen political, fiscal autonomy

January 7, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 127 views

CAMARINES Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has called on the incoming crop of local elective executives in 2022 to focus on crafting their respective development masterplans that would further strengthen their political and fiscal autonomy.

Villafuerte said this in view of the expanded roles that they would have to perform as a result of their respective governments’ increased share in the proceeds from national taxes.

A three-term governor prior to his election as legislator, Villafuerte reminded candidates running for local posts that the landmark Mandanas-Garcia ruling of the Supreme Court will give local government units (LGUs) a bigger share in all national taxes collected by the government starting this 2022.

Before the ruling, the LGUs’ Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) came from 40% of national internal revenue taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

With the Mandanas-Garcia ruling stating that LGUs are entitled to a “just share” of all national taxes collected, it is projected that LGUs will have a 27.61%-increase in their total share of the IRA, now called the National Tax Allotment (NTA), according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

“Our LGUs should keep in mind that with more funding comes more responsibilities. The new crop of local executives in 2022 should prepare themselves for this transition,” Villafuerte said.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data show that LGUs are the biggest beneficiaries of the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA) of P5.24 trillion signed by President Duterte as they are to collectively get P959.04 billion in NTA share from the national budget—or about a third more than their 2021 IRA of P695.49 billion.

However, Villafuerte pointed out that the higher NTA will entail bigger responsibilities for local elective officials, given that the President had signed Executive Order (EO) No. 138 devolving more powers to LGUs in the implementation of local projects such as those on infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare and social welfare.

Villafuerte said that on top of this increased NTA beginning 2022, there is also a possibility that a proposal to further raise this share from the current 40% to 50% might still be passed by the Congress this year.

The former Camarines Sur governor said his measure will help LGUs become “more responsive and accountable” and will finally free them from the clutches of “Imperial Manila.”