By Hannah Terrogoza | Manila Bulletin
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. has called on local government units (LGUs) to press for their reasonable share in the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) even if the current Aquino administration has turned down such proposals.
At the 62nd national assembly of the League of Vice Governors of the Philippines in Tuguegarao City held on Friday, Marcos urged the country’s vice governors and other local executive officials to unite in clamoring for a bigger share in IRA.
“Let us carefully plan on what else we can do so that in the coming years we can ensure that local governments will be given the priority and importance they truly deserve,” Marcos said.
‘BIGGER PIE, BIGGER SLICE’ BILL
Marcos said he supports initiatives in the Senate seeking to increase the IRA share of LGUs, particularly Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s bill who pushed for a “bigger pie, bigger slice” of IRA for local governments.
Pimentel has filed a bill seeking to empower LGUs to increase the current 40-60 percent sharing scheme in favor of national government to a 50-50 split.
Another proposal is to increase the tax base by including in the computation of IRA not only on all national taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), but also the excise taxes and value-added taxes (VAT) collected by the Bureau of Customs (BoC), estimated at P192-billion annually.
“We can once again bring forward local government and show what local government can do, show the many things that local governments can do better than the national government, and in that way play our part in the progress and the growth of the economy of our country,” Marcos said.
He pointed out that during the general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) last April, President Aquino rejected LMP’s request to certify as urgent a bill seeking to expand the tax base and increase the shares of local governments from 40 to 50 percent of the national taxes.
Worse, the government he said failed to release the 2013 IRA share of LGUs, amounting to over P300 billion.
Yet, he noted, Malacañang has admitted under-spending around P303-billion of the 2014 budget that many economists blamed for the recent economic slowdown.