SENATOR Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on local government, has expressed his strong support for LGU officials unhappy about the announced reduction of the Internal Revenue Allotment or IRA by as much as 4.8%.
Bongbong, in no uncertain terms, told DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo that “we should first try to restore the 4.8% of the IRA allowances.”
During the budget hearing, the senator cited economic figures showing a poor second quarter domestic growth, and BSP projections of a slower paced world economic activity in the second half of 2011.
“This does not augur well at all for the country’s economy as we approach year end,” he said.
All projections point to a 4.5% or thereabouts whole year economic growth for the Philippines, the senator lamented.
“My particular worry is the reduction of the local government’s IRA coupled with a lackluster performance of the economy and how that adversely affects services needed and expected from local governments.” He added that “we can’t allow this double whammy to hit local governments and add more suffering to our people.”
He further pointed out that the 20% increase in the new budget should all the more allow for ways and means to cushion the reduction by 4.8% in the LGU’s share of their IRA.
Senator Marcos said that, as a former governor of his province for nine years, he understands the predicament the LGU’s face with the looming reduction in their IRA.
“I can empathize with the LGU officials and so will insist, during these budget hearings, on some form of subsidy for the expected gap in their budgets to help prop-up if not boost the local economy of their provinces and cities all the way down to the barangay level,” he stated.