DILG

DILG denies push for constitutional reform despite item on proposed budget

James Patrick Cruz

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DILG denies push for constitutional reform despite item on proposed budget

LEGISLATIVE. Department Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos, Jr. appears before the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, to present the proposed budget of the DILG for Fiscal Year 2024, on August 31, 2023.

Rappler

The Department of the Interior and Local Government is seeking P30 million for its 'decentralization and constitutional reform advocacy campaign'

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that it was not pushing for constitutional reform despite having an item on “decentralization and constitutional reform advocacy campaign” on its proposed budget.

During the House Committee on Appropriations budget deliberation, Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel questioned the said P30 million item.

“Does the title of the program imply changes in the constitution, meaning is charter change a part of the administration’s priorities within this term? The National Expenditure Program or the proposal of the DILG is what we are basing this title on,” Manuel asked on Thursday, August 31.

 DILG Undersecretary Marlo Iringan said that there is no push for constitutional reform. 

“There is no push for constitutional reform what we want to target our capacity development intervention for the local government unit for full devolution,” DILG Undersecretary Marlo Iringan said. 

However, during the oathtaking of new members of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. called on the new members to “uphold” the party’s ideology and to push for federalism. 

“In fact, it came directly from the president that it is being considered as the first step towards federalism, which implies that Malacañang has the intention to alter our current form of government, and that necessitates a charter change. If the name of the budget item isn’t appropriate, then are we going against the president’s stance?” Manuel said. 

On the other hand, Iringan said that what they are now focusing on is “not exactly decentralization but devolution in light of the Supreme Court ruling that came out in 2018.”

Iringan was referring to the Mandanas-Garcia ruling which states that Internal Revenue Allotment of local governments should also include national taxes.

Following this ruling, then-President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order to transfer the task of delivering basic services from the national government to local governments. This posed a challenge to poor local governments.

In May, Marcos said he would release an executive order by the end of 2023 in relation to the Mandanas-Garcia ruling.

Meanwhile, last July, Iringan recommended that the period of devolving more responsibilities from national agencies to local governments be moved from 2024 to 2027. – Rappler.com

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