Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. told around 500 mayors from Luzon on Saturday to demand stronger support for local government units from the national government.
Marcos, Chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee, aired this advice when he spoke before local chief executives attending the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines-Luzon Island Cluster Conference in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.
He ruled that under the present administration, the national government provides little support for LGUs.
“I sincerely believe that the solution to our economic problems and our difficulties in the delivery of services will be improved if we empower our local governments by providing them additional support from the national government,” Marcos said.
Among others, Marcos said he is pushing for a larger share of LGUs in the Internal Revenue Allotment, from the current 40-60 percent sharing in favor of the national government, to an even 50-50 split.
Likewise, Marcos said he is supporting moves to increase the tax base from where IRA is computed. At present, the IRA share of LGUs is based solely from the collections of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
“Our position is that the IRA share should be based on all internal revenue collections of the government, not just on the BIR collections. That is why we have a case now pending in the Supreme Court to assert this position. We are optimistic that the Supreme Court will eventually uphold our position,” Marcos said.
With the approaching elections, Marcos said mayors can expect that candidates seeking national posts will try to woo their support.
“Choose a candidate who are supportive of local government units, not only for yourself, but also for the sake of your towns and, more importantly, for the development and progress of our country,” Marcos said.
Marcos stressed that his advice should not be taken as a campaign speech.
“I am merely stating my conviction that our local government units deserve better support and that is why we need to elect national officials who really understand the important role of local government units and the challenges that they face,” said Marcos.
The senator thanked the LMP, led by its national president Leonardo Javier, Jr. for inviting him to the conference.
He also lauded the LMP for their program to develop the skills of local government officials, noting that the three-day conference tackled diverse topics ranging such as tourism development, agriculture and rural growth, the 2016 proposed budget for LGUs, and infrastructure.