Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate Francisco Isko Moreno Domagoso on Thursday said there is no need to return health services functions, as well as other devolved functions, to the national government since local government units (LGUs) could now better manage and improve social services within their jurisdiction due to the Mandanas ruling that takes effect this year.
Moreno made the statement during the Kandidatalks presidential interviews aired over One PH when asked if he agrees with the notion that health services be returned to the national government because LGUs cannot properly execute the said function.
“Well, there’s the Mandanas Ruling. So I say we need to expand, bring closer access to better health care. Isn’t it effective for an ordinary person who has access to his child when a tooth needs to be extracted, or vitamins need to be given, or the baby has nutritional sustenance, and the pregnant mother has proper vitamins that are accessible to a health center, or hospital of the LGU because it’s nearby,” he said.
“And in my opinion, the LGUs are the most effective in knowing the real health situation of its people. I think it would be better for every Filipino to have smooth, easy access to better health care, nearby, or a nearby community. Whether in the barangay health center, municipal hospital, provincial hospital or regional hospital that Doc Willie (Ong) and I plan,” Moreno added.
The Mandanas ruling stemmed from petitions lodged by Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas and former Bataan Gov. Enrique Garcia Jr. seeking a share of LGUs in all national taxes — not just from taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) but also duties from the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
Because of this, an LGU’s share in the internal revenue allotment (IRA) is expected to increase to at least 60 percent from the current 40 percent, eating up a big chunk of the P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022.
“Big money, where, like Manila, we will have an extra P1.5 billion because of the Mandanas Ruling, and it goes to everyone. And so as not to burden the national government, we should provide other services to the LGUs,” Moreno pointed out.
These functions include health services, local infrastructure, revenue mobilization, employment facilitation, social welfare, housing, natural resources management, and agricultural services.
Moreno earlier said that if elected president, he would institute policies that will serve as a menu on how LGUs could effectively and efficiently utilize the windfall from the Mandanas ruling, just like what he did in Manila.
“What we will give is direction, in my opinion, I have minimum basic needs, on how to utilize funds. These monies, should be spent on housing, if it suits them; schools, because we also know that in far-flung areas there is no nearby access for children for hospital. So these are, maybe if we can afford it and if the law allows, this is where the new source of income should be focused,” Moreno said Tuesday during the Serve the Nation presidential interviews aired over TV5.
If the LGUs are located in major agriculture areas, he said the menu would focus on food security, with Mandanas funds utilized for food production facilities like post-harvest and cold storage facilities.
“These are the things that could be done by the local government unit under the direction of the Office of the President, because under RA 7160 or the Local Government Code, the local government unit is under the direct supervision of the office of the President,” said Moreno.
If elected president, Moreno has vowed to pursue a “Life and Livelihood” economic policy that aims to address poverty, hunger, unemployment, inequality and social injustice through though the effective, efficient and prudent management of government resources under an open, transparent and inclusive administration, as spelled out under his 10-point Bilis Kilos Economic Agenda.
Among his plans is to continue the Build, Build, Build program of President Rodrigo Duterte, this tike focusing on the minimum basic needs—housing, education, health care, employment —by building more socialized housing, public school buildings, public hospitals with premium facilities in all the 17 regions of the country to create more jobs and business opportunities.
Agriculture is also one of the main pillars of his Bilis Kilos Economic Agenda, with focus on supporting and protecting Filipino farmers to ensure Philippine food security.
Besides establishing post-harvest facilities and cold storage facilities in major food production areas throughout the country. Moreno aims to provide farmers and fisherfolks with risk-free capitals; building more irrigation systems while improving the efficiency of existing ones.
He would also issue clear guidelines on the strict importation of agricultural products to make sure that local producers can sell their products first before importation is made; and clamp down on smuggling of agriculture products to protect the interests of local producers.
Furthermore, he vowed that government will see to it that the cost of agricultural production will be brought down to further ensure farmers of their income. This would be achieved by cutting the excise tax of petroleum products by 50 percent to bring down the cost of diesel and fertilizer.