President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed willingness to consider options to grant higher internal revenue allotment (IRA) for local government units (LGUs).
Duterte made this remark as the Supreme Court entitled LGUs to have an expanded share of national taxes, a Malacañang press release said.
Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas earlier urged the national government to release this year the “just share” of LGUs in all national taxes, thereby expanding their IRAs.
“Tama siguro talaga ang Supreme Court (Perhaps the Supreme Court is right) that you deserve more and from our sources ang inyong (in your) share,” Duterte said during the 69th National Executive Board Meeting of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) in Davao City last Friday.
“Tutal magamit ninyo (Anyway, you can use it) for anything. It is to your advantage na maski utang, wala naman talaga na (that even as a loan, there won’t be any)…not strictly in a sense that it’s an obligation to everybody and a burden to the people or constituencies,” he added.
Last month, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Duterte Cabinet agreed that higher internal IRA for LGUs may not be feasibly effected before 2022 because it would lead to “unmanageable fiscal deficit.”
“It was agreed that the adjustment of the IRA may not be feasibly effected during this Administration,” Panelo said in a statement.
“Otherwise, there will be an unmanageable fiscal deficit, while securing loans will be more expensive to the nation as the citizenry will be paying for higher rates,” he added.
Panelo said the IRA adjustment cannot be implemented due to various commitments, such as the implementation of programs designed to combat criminality and corruption, and activities of the national government to promote human development and poverty reduction, among others.
Postponing the adjustment of the IRA is in accordance with the ruling by the High Court that expanded basis for calculating LGUs’ share in the national taxes will be prospectively effective starting from the 2022 budget cycle, he added.
Help your constituents
Addressing mayors at the LCP meeting, Duterte said that his administration looks forward to key reforms that would help reduce poverty, promote infrastructure developments, and maintain peace and order.
He also expressed support for mayors who guaranteed the delivery of appropriate government services to their constituents.
“With your dedication to serve your respective constituents, I am confident you can address the growing needs of our people and provide them the opportunity to lead meaningful lives,” Duterte said.
The President encouraged city mayors to continue working with the national government by crafting and implementing local policies that will benefit their constituencies.
He also thanked the LCP’s National Executive Board for strictly observe judicious spending of public funds. (PNA)