By Mario B. Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is calling for the restoration of the 4.8 percent cut by the Executive branch from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) for Local Government Units (LGUs) “to avert poor economic year-end growth.”
“The fiscal crisis LGUs 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 are now further threatened by a looming world recession,” Marcos, chairman of the Senate local government committee, said.
Marcos said the abrupt plunge of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) index last week is evidence of the prognosis of investors of a slump in the global economy.
The PSE index plunge was said to be the worst single day performance experienced by the exchange in three years.
Marcos expressed his strong support for LGU officials who are unhappy about 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 LGUs' IRA to avert a crisis that will see a shortage in the basic services expected from local governments,'' he pointed out.
“The 20 percent increase in the new budget and the administration's much-touted savings should all the more compel them to assist the LGUs' fiscal predicament that foretells of greater suffering for our people, particularly those in the countryside, if left unassisted,” Marcos said.
“I am also looking into the alleged shortfall in IRA that was supposedly due the LGUs' but unremitted to this day because of miscomputations in the gross internal revenue collections since 1992 amounting to P500 billion, according to Bataan Governor Tet Garcia,” he said.
Regardless of whether the claim of Garcia is valid or not, Marcos emphasized that the government cannot ignore the plight of the LGUs in the coming year.
He said the government should prioritize its much-needed funds that would affect millions of people dependent on basic services provided by provincial and city governments.