The Senate committee on local government is pushing for a comprehensive review of the Local Government Code which aims to decentralize governance and allow autonomy for local government units.
“Its review is long-overdue since it was enacted by Congress 26 years ago,” committee chairman Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said.
“It is now imperative to institute reforms so it can truly fulfill its main objective which is to equally distribute growth in the country through autonomy grounded on decentralized and devolved public functions,” he added.
Section 521 of the Code states that the Congress shall “undertake a mandatory review of this Code at lease once every five years and as often as it may deem necessary, with the primary objective of providing a more responsive and accountable local government structure.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros, committee vice chairperson, stressed that the intent of the review is enhance LGUs’ autonomy and decentralization.
The Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines earlier urged the Senate committee to prioritize the increase in the revenue share of LGUs.
Ulap also pressed for a simplified formula for the computation of LGU shares in Internal Revenue Allotment.
At present, 40 percent of the national IRA is allocated to local government units. LGUs are also empowered to impose local taxes to allow them to generate more revenues.
Angara, however, lamented that more than half, or up to 62 percent, of economic activity in the country is still concentrated in the National Capital Region (36 percent), Calabarzon (17 percent), and Central Luzon (9 percent).
“Ours is a grossly unequal economy, and that inequality can be drawn along geographic lines,” he said.
“We understand the needs of localities for the right and fair allocation from the earnings of the government. We intend now to have sufficient allocation for all the LGUs to help out of poverty,” Angara added.