Isko eyes 'menu' of projects to guide local governments

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2021 07:08 PM

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno via ABS-CBN News/File
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno conducts an ocular inspection at the Plaza Miranda on January 8, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga - Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Thursday said if elected President, he will release a "menu" of projects that would guide local governments on where to spend additional revenues they generate next year.

The internal revenue allotment (IRA) of local government units are expected to increase by about 55 percent under the 2022 budget after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas’ petition that questioned the national government’s wrong computation and alleged misappropriation of IRA funds for LGUs.

"If you create menus then you're trying to put direction to the country's future," Domagoso told reporters on the sidelines of a campaign event here.

"Iba yung dikta, iba yung menu... [dahil] ang highly urbanized cities, ang mahirap na probinsya at mayaman na probinsya ay may kaniya-kaniyang kakailanganin," he said.

(Dictating is different from menu... because highly urbanized citis, poor provinces and rich provinces have different needs.)

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Among the items in the Manila mayor's proposed menu is the opening of a loan fund dedicated to micro, small and medium enterprises.

"You create a menu that addresses the general population and needs... In some areas we classify what type of needs mayroon ang 5th class municipalities (have)," he said.

Domagoso said the other items in the proposed menu would be crafted by the executive department after reviewing the necessities of each area, but it would also need enabling laws for these to be implemented on the ground.

SECURING LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT

So far, Domagoso's slate only has 3 senatorial candidates but secured the backing of 6 incumbent lawmakers from Batangas province.

Should he win the 2022 presidential race, Domagoso said he would try to "be reasonable and just to this new set of officers in Congress and Senate" so that lawmakers would pass the laws needed for his "IskoNomics."

"Is there high probability na sila (congressmen) ay tutulong? Naniniwala ako doon," he said.

(Is there a high probability that they will help? I believe so.)

"Medyo optimistic ako sa buhay. Sa hirap ba naman ng buhay na pinagdaaanan ko, hindi pa ako magiging optimistic?" he said.

(I am quite optimistic in life. With the hardships I experienced, why would I not be optimistic?)

In 2007, then-Manila Vice Mayor Domagoso only had 6 allies in the capital city's 38-man city council.

"One week after ng meeting namin, alam mo ilan kasama namin out of 38? Thirty-eight," he said.

(One week after our meeting, you know how many joined our team out of 38? Thirty-eight.)

"My point is because matagal akong mambabatas sa lokal, matagal akong presiding officer... I think wala namang masama na hikayatin ko sila towards a particular journey na kapakinabangan mo at kapakinabangan ng tao," he said.

(My point is because I have been a local legislator and a long-time presiding officer, I think there is nothing wrong if I would convince them towards a particular journey towards the benefit of the public.)

Aside from his proposal concerning the Mandanas ruling and the revenue of local governments, Domagoso earlier said he would slash oil and electricity taxes should he sit in Malacañang next year.

Economists earlier said that the government could lose up to P130 billion in taxes if Domagoso's proposals are implemented.

"I would rather lose some government resources as long as maramdaman agad ng tao at tangible na nahahawakan ng tao yung pagbabawas ng buwis sa krudo... at taxes sa kuryente," the Manila Mayor said.

"Ang gobyerno ba dapat yumaman o ang gobyerno dapat bang maglingkod para pataasin ang antas ng pamumuhay ng nasasakupan niya?"

The government should invest in the construction of hospitals, schools and housing units to spur jobs, especially during the pandemic.

REGULARIZATION OF WORKERS 'NOT YET A PRIORITY'

Despite his push for jobs, Domagoso said regularizing contractual workers is not yet a priority.

"That's the least of my problem. What I want is for you to have jobs: temporary, immediate," he said.

"Basta maghanap buhay ka muna. Kapag umuunlad na tayo, balikan natin yung issue na yun... Puwede yan kapag maayos na ang sitwasyon ng bansa (We can do that after the situation of our country improves.)," he said.

"For now we must find a way on how to stimulate government, how to stimulate businesses so we can sustain jobs."