The incoming Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Sunday said faster development and progress in the countryside would be attained if local government units are given more resources to make them fulfill their role as front liners to their constituents.
Pimentel has refiled his bill under the 17th Congress “Bigger Pie, Bigger Slice” seeking to amend Republic Act 7160 and expand the tax base and increase the LGUs’ share in the national taxes.
LGUs have been given numerous mandates but, most of the time, their resources have been overlooked and have not been coming to them, Pimentel said.
If enacted into law, his proposal will boost the revenue share of LGUs—provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays—from 40 percent to 50 percent.
Their tax base would also be expanded because these would cover Bureau of Internal Revenue taxes and the tariffs, duties, fees and charges and national internal revenue taxes of the Bureau of Customs.
Senate Bill 110 topped 10 bills filed recently by Pimentel that included the creation of a framework for the right to adequate food and the Mindanao railway, end to labor contractualization and abolition of the Road Board.
His other bills include changes to the bank secrecy law; modernization of procurement during calamities; creation of a committee for the prevention of torture; increased penalties on reckless imprudence and negligence in the Revised Penal Code; and strict enforcement and compliance with the national building code.
Pimentel said the full empowerment of LGUs has been a long standing advocacy of the administration party PDP Laban which he heads and, “we intend to see through its desired fruition by the passage of the necessary legislation.”
The Constitution provides that “local government units shall have a just share, as determined by law, in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them.”
He said another collateral result of the bill is that it converts the fight against smuggling into a national and grassroots concern because the LGUs would be more sensitive on matters concerning smuggling operations.
“If the fight against smuggling succeeds, the BOC’s collections will increase and which, in turn, will also increase the LGUs’ share in the national taxes,” said Pimentel.