How far can ‘FAR’ go for LGUs?
If it does, ‘Fund Augmentation Reforms’ for all levels of LGUs will have FAR-reaching effects to enhance local governance. If not, it can also be FAR-fetched if there will be continued resistance from the National Government to diminish its power to control 84% of the national budget, leaving a measly 16% to be apportioned to all 43,752 LGUs nationwide.
In order for LGUs to go far in accomplishing its many tasks, LGUs will need adequate resources to effectively meet the increasing demands for services of its constituents. How?
First, we can collectively “GO FOR ‘FAR’”! LGUs need to advocate for ‘Fund Augmentation Reforms’ under the Duterte administration in order to provide them with more funds with the corresponding fiscal autonomy not only to increase people participation in governance to ensure transparency and accountability of the locally-elected officials, but as a tool to effect change in key reform priority areas identified under the Philippine Development Plan.
Secondly, National Government must take heed of LGUs’ long-standing clamor for much-needed fiscal reforms to address the widening fiscal disparities and capacities of LGUs and ensure a level-playing field to be able to raise higher local revenues currently hampered due to the situs of tax impositions and the absence of an efficient tax computerized system to automatically compute and apportion the mandated shares of LGUs from the consolidated tax payments of banks, financial institutions and business establishments that mainly benefit a handful of Metro Manila Cities where the main head offices are located to the detriment of 99.7% of the LGUs.
So how do we achieve the goal to increase the 16% annual average share of LGUs from the national budget in order to at least be comparable to the 34% annual average share of sub-national governments in the Asia Pacific?
(To be continued…)