Business Mirror - P500-B ballooning shortfall in LGU IRA bared

29 September 2011

By Butch Fernandez | Business Mirror

businessMirrorA Senate panel chaired by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is looking into a still-unresolved P500 billion shortfall in annual internal revenue allotments (IRA) owed to local government units (LGUs) since 1992, as reported by Bataan Gov. Tet Garcia, purportedly due to “miscomputations” in gross internal revenue collections.

This developed as Senator Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government, also asked Malacañang to put a stop to the continued 4.8-percent reduction in IRA given to LGUs in order to forestall a projected “poor economic year-end growth.”

“The fiscal crisis LGU’s are facing in light of the reduction in their IRA by 4.8 percent and the expected lackluster performance of the country’s economy by year-end is now further threatened by a looming world recession,” the senator warned.

In a statement, Marcos confirmed that the committee is verifying Governor Garcia’s report about the ballooning P500 billion shortfall in IRA shares.

“But regardless whether the claim of Governor Garcia is valid, the government cannot ignore the plight of the LGU’s in the coming year and should prioritize their much needed funds that will affect millions of people dependent on basic services provided by provincial and city governments,” the senator added. ????

Marcos pointed out that the abrupt plunge of the Philippine Stock Exchange index on Friday “proved the prognosis of investors of a downtrend in the global economy” noting that it was “the worst single day performance experienced by the Exchange in three years.”

At the same time, the senator committed to support the LGU officials in their bid to abort the announced reduction of the IRA by as much as 4.8 percent.

“I have been exhorting our national government to restore the 4.8-percent reduction in the LGU’s IRA to avert a crisis that will see a shortage in the basic services expected from local governments,” Marcos, who served as provincial governor before being elected to the Senate said.

He added that the 20-percent increase in the 2012 national budget and the Aquino administration’s much-touted savings “should all the more compel them to assist the LGU’s fiscal predicament that foretells of greater suffering for our people particularly those in the countryside, if left unassisted.”