LGUs in the Philippines

Marcos to release EO clarifying functions of national, local gov’ts

James Patrick Cruz

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Marcos to release EO clarifying functions of national, local gov’ts

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. attends the 4th general assembly of the League of Provinces of the Philippines in Clark, Pampanga on Friday, May 19, 2023

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. says that the devolution of functions was not clear in former president Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 138

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Friday, May 19, he would clarify the division of functions of national and local governments in relation to the Mandanas-Garcia ruling.

Speaking to governors all over the country who attended the 4th assembly of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LLP), held in Clark, Pampanga, Marcos said he would clarify the delineations by “the end of the year 2023.”

The President said he would sign an “executive order putting into place all – and defining very clearly which of the services, which of the functions belong to the local government and which belong to the national government.”

Marcos said that the devolution of functions was not clear in Duterte’s Executive Order No. 138, which told national government agencies to fully transfer the task of delivering basic services to local governments by the year 2024.

This EO was issued in line with the Mandanas-Garcia ruling which increased the budget share of the local governments from the national revenues.

The Mandanas-Garcia ruling is a result of two separate petitions filed by Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas and former Bataan Governor Enrique Garcia Jr. They requested for the basis of computation of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of local governments to be adjusted to include national taxes.

Following their petition, the Supreme Court in 2018 ruled that IRA should not just come from national taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, but also from the Bureau of Customs.

While a higher portion of the budget seems to be promising, LLP recognized that the EO and SC ruling might also be a disadvantage, especially to poor provinces because of the larger responsibilities they have to assume.

“The effect here is that some LGUs which used to receive financial assistance from these national government agencies will no longer receive fund support and the net effect despite their supposed National Tax Allotment increase will even be a net decrease in their annual revenues,” LLP said.

Marcos also highlighted the value of cooperation between local and national governments as he recognized that there are “hybrid areas” where both have to function together.

“That is what we are trying to calibrate now – how do we do that so that the local governments are able to perform their functions and are able to provide the services to their constituents that are expected and that are mandated by the Local Government Code,” Marcos said.

Last March, Marcos said that his administration has been conducting a study of the Mandanas-Garcia ruling stressing that it’s very important to “get it right.” This issue was also discussed during his first State of the Nation Address. – Rappler.com

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