ABS-CBN News : Marcos Jr. pledges 'more balanced relationship' between LGUs, national government

2 March 2022

By Mico Abarro | ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. pledged on Tuesday a more balanced relationship between local government units and the national government if he won as president in the May 2022 national elections.

Speaking at a general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, Marcos Jr. said one of the problems in governance is the national government giving local governments more tasks but not giving them additional funds or assistance.

"Magpapatayo ng another committee, wala namang dagdag na pondo. Hindi nga natin mabayaran lahat ng mga dapat bayaran doon sa budget natin kung minsan dahil laging hirap sa pondo ang local government," he said.

He added that the relationship between the national government and LGUs is one-sided, and he intends address the imbalance.

"To make that balance more, very much more hindi lang one direction, inuutusan lang ng national government ang gagawin ng LGU, kung hindi nagko-konsultasyon ang local government at saka ang national government," he said.

According to Marcos Jr., the Mandanas Ruling would give LGUs the opportunity to play a larger role in helping the Philippine economy recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic since they will receive higher budgets.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that the Internal Revenue Allotment of LGUs under Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code would be understood to be based on the collections of all national taxes, not just national internal revenue taxes.

This means LGUs will receive higher allocations from the national budget, though the Department of Finance warned in November that the ruling's implementation would result in “three percent lower economic growth."

Despite the increased funding LGUs will receive under the ruling, Marcos Jr. said they would not be given more tasks. He claimed that some LGUs were still not able to carry out certain functions under the Local Government Code.

"In fact, hindi pa natin naimplement ng mabuti ang local government code in terms of even benefits hanggang sa barangay level," he said. "Ang barangay natin merong nakalagay doon dapat may scholarship sila, dapat meron silang health insurance, all of that. Hindi natin natupad dahil wala na yung pondo. "

In December last year, Senator Richard Gordon said though the ruling would be beneficial for LGUs, corrupt officials could also abuse it. That's why he and other senatorial aspirants called for oversight on how the extra money would be spent.

"Closer is better. Mas malapit ang pera sa baba, mas madaling magagamit, at mapapaabot sa lahat ng mga requirements ng local government, at kayang gawin 'yan. Pero kailangang bantayan 'yan, kasi baka naman magpapatayo na naman ng magagarang mga building," Gordon said.