MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday said his administration is looking to rationalize the functions and responsibilities of local government units to ensure that cities and municipalities would have enough funds to carry out pet projects.
The administration is reviewing Executive Order 138 which “defines the different functions of government and local government” before the Mandanas ruling fully takes effect, Marcos said during the 2023 general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP).
“Maraming nilipat na function at inilagay sa local government… ‘Yung mga ibang lugar, kung kakalkulahin mo, lugi pa ang ibang munisipyo sa naging EO,” he said.
“Sa papel it looks okay pero ang net effect sa maraming lugar ay nababawasan pa ang pondo na puwedeng gamitin ng chief executive ng loca constituency,” he said.
Among the functions the President hopes to transfer from LGUs to the national government is the processing of land use plans.
Some municipalities either lack funds, manpower or expertise, Marcos Jr. said.
“Mayroon sa aking palagay na really belongs to the national government… We are taking very seriously the issues that have come out of the Mandanas ruling and how we will implement it,” he said.
“If we do not give our local leaders the opportunity to show what it is they feel are most important… hindi nila magagawa yung hinihingi natin for the transformation of the economy,” he said.
Marcos Jr. assured local leaders that his administration would listen to their needs and pay close attention to their suggestions for their respective jurisdictions.
“Lalakihan talaga natin ang role ng local government sa lahat ng pagplano, lahat ng iniisip ng national government,” the President said.
“Kami sa national government ang kailangan makinig sa inyo dahil kayong mga nasa local, alam na alam ninyo. You are the experts about your municipality. You are the most aware of the problems you have… and the possible solutions,” he said:
“Asahan ninyo na sa administrasyong ito nakabukas ang aming pandinig kung ano ang kailangan ng local officials upang solusyunan kung ano ang mga kinakailangan ninyo.”
Under the Mandanas ruling, local governments are entitled to a bigger share of the Philippines’ annual revenue after the Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that the computation of internal revenue allotments (IRA) should include collections from local Customs offices and other tax-collecting agencies.
The interior department is eyeing the full devolution of local government units by 2024.