LGUs’ PURSEPECTIVE (Part 2 of 4)

So what chances do we have against these “PURSE-HOLDERS” under a unitary government?

Despite three Supreme Court decisions3 on the IRA that all says that “any retention of the IRA is prohibited and unconstitutional” as any discretion on the part of the legislative or the executive branch is inconsistent with the provision on automatic release guaranteed in the 1987 Constitution, DBCC still unilaterally decided not to revoke DBCC Resolution 2003-02 because this would result to double-counting as the amounts that are already given through the special account earmarking channels are redistributed to them through the IRA share of LGUs”. Double-counting” is not expressly prohibited by the laws passed by Congress in the determination of the internal revenue base and the IRA.

All LGUs, and not just the host LGUs, are entitled to receive its fair share from the national wealth. Hence, under Sec. 290 of RA 7160, these special shares are to be given to LGUs “In addition to their IRA”, so double-counting may have been the intention here as evidenced by the official transcript of the Senate floor deliberations when Sen. Guingona questioned the exclusion of these special accounts from the determination of the internal revenue base as provided for in PDs 144 and 1471. Which was also why these PDs have been expressly repealed in Sec. 534 of RA 71604.

In the case of Commission of Internal Revenue vs. Solidbank Corporation (G.R. No. 148191), the Supreme Court held that statutes should receive a sensible construction, such as will give effect to the legislative intention and so as to avoid an unjust or absurd conclusion.” In fact, while the law provides that 40% in the national internal revenue taxes forms part of the IRA share of LGUs, there is no provision that says that the National Government shall receive the 60% share, only that the National Government’s share will be the net general fund after deducting all the special funds and special accounts and the COA share.

So what chances do we have against these “PURSE-HOLDERS” under a unitary government?

To rebut it seems useless as our appeals continue to have fallen on deaf ears. Close to nil perhaps, but our advocacy must go on. To stay silent and be nonchalant about it would make us even worse as we will be negligent of our sworn duty to uphold and to fight for what is rightfully the just share of LGUs because to unjustly lessen its purse would result to weakening its ability to directly provide quality services needed by the people.

To ensure transparency and accountability, Congress can include a provision in the budget reform bill that will institutionalize an annual consultation process with the Leagues, through an oversight power of both the Senate and House Committees on Appropriation and Local Government to put up the proper checks and balances on the rightful determination of the LGUs’ IRA at least 30 days before BIR certifies and submits the same to DBM for its automatic appropriation in the GAA.

 

(To be continued…)

 

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About the Author
Sandra Tablan Paredes is presently the Executive Director of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) since October, 2016 although she previously served LPP as Director from 1997 to 2004 Sandy helped organize ULAP in 1998 with former Governor Joey Lina and advocated for the LGUs' rightful IRA share, among other league advocacies, programs and projects to help local officials ensure local and fiscal autonomy and good governance. Recently served as concurrent interim Executive Director of ULAP from Jan-March 31, 2017. You can email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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