Give LGUs the right tax share : Duterte asked
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Bataan Rep. Jose Enrique Garcia III has asked President Duterte to give local government units (LGUs) their correct shares in internal revenue allotments (IRA) to further empower 81 provinces, 145 cities, 1,489 towns and 42,036 villages. Garcia referred to the “fast and simple solution” offered by his late father, Rep. Enrique Garcia Jr., who had complained that LGUs were being shortchanged.
The elder Garcia filed a petition for mandamus in the Supreme Court on Aug. 28, 2013 to compel government agencies to pay LGUs an additional P233.1 billion from 2009 to 2011.
In a recent privilege speech, Garcia III said: “On behalf of the LGUs, let me address this appeal to President Duterte: Please give this matter serious thought and consideration. Once convinced, all it would take is a clear directive to the DOF (Department of Finance), the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) and the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue)… [to] compute the IRA strictly.”
He said doing this would “immediately achieve the same desired objective, which is the equitable distribution of the national wealth.” If the President acts, LGUs need not wait for a Supreme Court decision on the IRA petition, Garcia said.
‘Prelude to federalism’
He said his father’s vision of empowerment for LGUs was “a prelude to federalism” which Mr. Duterte had promised to pursue. The Local Government Code transferred to the LGUs the responsibility of providing basic services. Garcia said the injustice on LGUs began with the code’s Section 284 which limited the share of LGUs only to the national internal revenue collected each year. This went against the 1987 Constitution’s provision that LGUs would get a share from all national taxes, he said.
“Even in the implementation of that erroneous and unconstitutional provision of the Local Government Code, LGUs were getting their IRA in amounts that are much, much less than what that law provides. For instance, the internal revenue taxes being collected by the Bureau of Customs are being excluded from the computation of the IRA,” Garcia said.
“To enable the LGUs to perform their role as effective partners in the national progress and development, the Constitution has properly seen it fit to provide them with a broadened taxing power and a just share in the national taxes. After all, national taxes are paid by individual and corporate taxpayers who make their living in cities and municipalities, thereby making LGUs as the source of the national taxes.”