Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday vowed work for bigger participation of local government units in shaping of national policies and programs affecting them.
Speaking before the gathering of the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines at Diamond Hotel in Manila, Marcos assured the local officials of his continued support in promoting the interests of local government.
“Development policies must be based on the needs in the grassroots; we must listen to the suggestions of local government officials. When we say ‘vox populi, vox dei’ that includes local government officials; we must have faith in them,” said Marcos.
“This has been my advocacy. It has been something I had been talking on practically since I was in local government,” he added.
Having been governor of Ilocos Norte for three terms, Marcos said he is well aware of the challenges the LGUs are facing and so when he became a senator he took it as his mission to champion their cause.
Among others, Marcos said he was in the forefront of the battle to ensure automatic appropriation of the Internal Revenue Allotment share of LGUs.
Marcos also said he has been pushing for larger IRA share of LGUs by implementing the intent of the Local Government Code that it should be based on all national revenue collections, including Bureau of Customs and Value Added Tax (VAT) collections.
This alone would add around P500 billion to the total IRA share of all LGUs, according to Marcos. The issue has been raised before the Supreme Court and is awaiting resolution.
Likewise, Marcos said proposed a 50-50 sharing scheme between the local and national government in the IRA but the administration turned down the idea. “Practically nothing is left in the IRA to fund the initiatives of LGUs,” Marcos said.
To make matters worse, Marcos noted that in the past few years the administration has taken the attitude that programs and policies must come from the national government.
Marcos said this attitude must change because LGU officials know better than anybody the nature of the problems and needs of their areas and, more often than not, have also formulated the best possible solutions.
He vowed that if elected Vice President he will continue to give voice to local governments.
“With your help and your support we will achieve this goal to become equal partners in government,” he added.