The Marcos Jr. Administration is proactively listening to the inputs and concerns raised by local government units (LGUs) on the implementation of full devolution, in compliance with the Supreme Court ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia case.
This assurance was given by Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman during a press briefing held in Malacanang on 21 March 2023.
“The President hears and understands the concerns of LGUs with regards to full devolution. Pinakikinggan at pinahahalagahan po ng administrasyon ang mga ito. We wanted to ensure that decisions are not made haphazardly. We make decisions that are objective and fair for all. And that is why the President has directed the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to lead the conduct of a study,” Sec. Pangandaman said.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. earlier held a sectoral meeting with the DBM and the League of Municipalities to discuss the implementation of full devolution, as outlined in Executive Order No. 138, series of 2021.
“Maswerte po tayo dahil mayroon tayong Pangulo na malawak ang karanasan sa pangangasiwa sa lokal na pamahalaan. Matagal po siyang naglingkod bilang Governor ng probinsya, kaya ramdam at naiintindihan ng Pangulo ang lagay at saloobin ng mga LGUs dahil dyan po siya nanggaling,” Pangandaman added.
𝗖𝗮𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗶𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗟𝗚𝗨𝘀
President Marcos Jr. gave a marching order to review the allocation of responsibilities, programs and projects of both the Executive branch and the LGUs to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of public services.
“We were tasked by the President to study the projects and programs whose implementation will remain with the national government dahil national government lang ang may kayang gawin itong mga proyekto na ito, at kung ano namang mga proyekto ang idi-devolve natin sa ating local government units,” Secretary Pangandaman said.
Cognizant of the varying levels of expertise and capabilities of LGUs, there will be continuous capacity development interventions for LGUs by the DBM, NEDA, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Finance, among others.
“Rest assured that the DBM will provide support to capacitate our LGUs, especially those who are disadvanatged and lagging,” Pangandaman said.
𝗚𝗿𝗼𝘄𝘁𝗵 𝗘𝗾𝘂𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗱
Secretary Pangandaman in the same press briefing announced a Growth Equity Fund (GEF) to address the issues of inequality and disparities of fiscal capacities of LGUs as they assume the devolved functions in the delivery of basic services and functions.
The GEF shall cover the funding requirements of programs, projects and activities of poor, disadvantaged and lagging LGUs to gradually enable the full and efficient implementation of the functions and services devolved to them.
“Kasama sa EO iyong tinatawag natin Growth Equity Fund (GEF). Last year, we provided them 1.2 billion, divided po iyan according to their population – mayroon formula tayong ginagamit. And this year, for 2023 budget, mayroon din silang one billion.”
There are 430 LGU recipients of the GEF among 1,477 cities and municipalities and 114 provinces, HUCs, ICCs and NCR LGUs.
The GEF shall be released to such LGUs in accordance with the implementing rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Development Budget Coordination Committee, and shall be subject to the mechanisms and guidelines for an equitable, performance-based, and time-bound allocation and distribution of the fund to the LGUs.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗙𝘂𝗹𝗹 𝗗𝗲𝘃𝗼𝗹𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻?
Full devolution promotes decentralization as enshrined in the Constitution and the Local Government Code, as well as the increase in just share in all national taxes and revenues for LGUs as provided for in the Mandanas-Garcia ruling of the Supreme Court (SC).
It advocates the provision of a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization whereby LGUs shall be given more autonomy in managing their resources, under the premise that LGUs are in a better position to address the basic needs of their constituents and can therefore deliver better services.
The Supreme Court, in the Mandanas Garcia case, ruled that all collections of national taxes, except those accruing to special purpose funds and special allotments for the utilization and development of the national wealth, should be included in the computation of the base of the just share of the LGUs.