Through the years, the Leagues have been advocating for more substantive priority amendments to achieve full decentralization.
It’s already nearing May 2017 and by then, 25 years and 6 months have passed since RA 7160 or the Local Government Code has been passed by the 8th Congress on October 10, 1991. Through the years, the Leagues have been advocating for more substantive priority amendments to achieve full decentralization.
Although there must be almost 30 laws and Executive Issuances that have amended some provisions of the Local Government Code. To name a few, laws on procurement, urban development and housing, tourism, renewable energy, information and technology, barangay and SK elections, ecozones, e-commerce, and several other unfunded mandates.
In several instances, there were several impositions made on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) either through Executive Issuances or compromised by Congress through general and special provisions of the General Appropriations Act which were declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
In GR 152774, Batangas vs. Romulo, the Supreme Court ruled that “The Code is a substantive law, and while it is conceded that Congress may amend any of the provisions therein, it MAY NOT DO SO through Appropriations laws or GAAs. To permit Congress to undertake these amendments through the GAAs, would be to give Congress the unbridled authority to unduly infringe the fiscal autonomy of the LGUs, and thus put them in jeopardy every year. This the Court CANNOT SANCTION.”
Up to now, full fiscal and local autonomy of our LGUs still seems to be elusive which is why the Leagues will continue with our advocacy to ensure that practical and functional but crucial reforms are to finally be adopted in the LGCode proposed amendments during this 17th Congress. We are actively participating in the TWG deliberations on the LGCode initiated by Sen. Angara.
We just hope this time around, we can truly say, “Ang gara ng Code!”