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Thursday, April 18, 2024

EO to give LGUs more autonomy set before yearend

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he will issue a new executive order by the end of the year to ensure the “good” implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia decision of the Supreme Court that expands the share of local governments in tax collection while devolving functions of certain social services within their jurisdictions.

Mr. Marcos made the pronouncement on Friday during the fourth general assembly of the League of Provinces of the Philippines in Clark, Pampanga.

In his speech, Mr. Marcos acknowledged that the full devolution of certain functions of the executive branch to LGUs as directed by the existing EO 138 could not be done.

EO 138, signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte in June 2021 to implement the Mandanas-Garcia ruling, ordered that functions, services and facilities should be fully devolved to the local government no later than the end of 2024.

Mr. Marcos said his administration is currently identifying the functions that belong to the LGUs, as well as the services that should be carried out by the national government.

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He noted that there are also “hybrid” areas such as health and education that the national and local governments must work on together.

“I think that’s the right way to do it is to look at the very easily identifiable services that should be done in the provinces,” Mr. Marcos said.

“There are also hybrid services that could not be done by the provincial governments alone. It is supposed to be a joint effort between the province and the national government. So, that is what we are trying to calibrate,” he added.

The President said the national government is also working toward providing “extra” funding to LGUs to give them a “breathing room” in carrying out their mandate.

“It does mean that there will be no devolution. Functions will be devolved but the difference here is there will be items, funding and training,” Mr. Marcos said.

“The original concept was to give extra funding to local governments, especially those that are highly dependent on IRA [Internal Revenue Allotment],” he added.

The President assured local leaders present that his administration will include LGUs “in all of our plans,” adding that there will be a series of consultations with local executives.

“There should be a good coordination between the local and national government. Expect that you are not working in a vacuum. We are watching, we are asking, we are consulting with you,” he told the governors.

“In that way, we will come out with a good EO at the end of the year for a good implementation of the very important Supreme Court decision we now call the Mandanas ruling to even further strengthen the coordination and the partnership between the local government and the national government,” he added.

Under the Mandanas ruling, the national government is mandated to expand the share of LGUs in tax collection.

On the other hand, LGUs are required to handle the responsibility of operating social services like agriculture, connectivity and health within their jurisdictions.

The ruling is a result of two separate petitions filed by Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas and former Bataan governor Enrique Garcia Jr., requesting that the basis of computation of the LGUs’ IRA be adjusted to include national taxes.

Mr. Marcos expressed confidence that his administration is on the “right track” as it seeks closer cooperation and collaboration with the LGUs.

“There is no slippage. There is no wastage. Even the level of corruption will go down because what we want to do is very, very clear,” he said.

“I think we are headed in the right direction. We will get there. With your help, we will get there. This will be to the benefit of all our constituents. So, let’s keep that partnership strong and let’s work hard,” he added.

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