So how can we augment LGUs’ funds?
From a 16% annual average (1991-2017) share of LGUs from the national budget, the Leagues need a roadmap to effectively advocate the adoption of a transition plan from a unitary form to a federal form of government.
I attended a recent DILG-LGA workshop of Federalism and PDP Laban’s proposed sharing scheme of 75%/25% between LGUs/States and a Federal Form of Government will have a long way to go. But how do we achieve the long-term goal to reverse the sharing scheme between LGUs and the national government? What is the transition plan? It will be inevitable that Government will need to gradually provide more resources to prepare both the LGUs, the national government and all other stakeholders with this impending change under the Duterte administration.
This year, LGUs are tasked to locally implement the Philippine Development Plan. More are expected from LGUs and this will definitely require more resources. But with the IRA share of LGUs for FY 2018 reduced to 14%, we can only expect more challenges ahead.
Under the proposed Fund Augmentation Reforms (FAR) for LGUs, the roadmap’s short, medium and long-term plan needs doable strategies to achieve these targets.
The immediate plan is to enforce exisitng laws to ensure a genuine decentralization and assure the LGUs’ fiscal autonomy that can be achieved through an advocacy campaign to effectively lobby with the Executive Department through the convening of the Oversight Committee on Devolution (OCD) created under Sec. 533 of RA 7160 in order to finally settle long-overdue issues that results in huge IRA shortfalls on the mandated share of LGUs.
The consensus priority amendments to the 1991 LGCode will hopefully materialize maybe 2 to 3 years down the road. Hence, our efforts for our medium-term plan will focus on our continued lobby with Congress to effect changes that will increase LGUs’ revenue-generating capacity that ensures a level-playing field at all levels. Hopefully, these will be included in LEDAC’s list of urgent measures as certified by the President to Congress.
The long-term plan is to support President Duterte’s call for a shift to a federal form of Government.