Palace asked to save IRA budget

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Palace asked to save IRA budget

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Gov. Edgar Chatto and leaders of other provinces would like Malacañang to intervene for the  2017 internal revenue allotment (IRA) recomputation in support of the local programs’ harmony with the national agenda.

Chatto who is the secretary-general of the governors’ league told the Chronicle on Saturday the situation has alarmed provincial officials all over the country.

Nationwide, many LGUs each stands to lose possibly millions based on the new formula of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) in sharing the IRA next year amounting to P486.885 billion.

IRA allocation is the biggest single determinant of the local annual budget, Chatto said as the Bohol provincial government is eyeing a 2017 budget of P2.395 billion.

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Next year’s IRA has been computed based on DBM Local Budget Memorandum (LBM) No. 74-A resulting from the adoption of the 2015 Census of Population by province, city, municipality and barangay.

The DBM earlier computed the IRA based on LBM No. 74, which considered the 2010 population census, until the new memorandum on “adjusted” IRA was issued last September on account of the 2015 census.

While there are LGUs to gain more allocations under the new memorandum, the shares of many provinces and even majority of the LGUs will decrease.

NEGATIVE EFFECTS
ON SERVICES

There are essential local development programs and projects and socio-economic services feared to be affected or hampered if the new computation basis is not recalled.

Bohol province and its component lone city, 47 municipalities and 1,109 barangays stand to get next year a total IRA reduced by P113.327 million.

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Chatto estimated the IRA of the provincial government alone to decrease by more than P41 million, which can otherwise help a lot of essential programs, projects and services.

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The same situation can happen to all other affected LGUs in the country, according to the governors during the general assembly of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP).

The LPP, thus, asked Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to direct the DBM to recall LBM No. 74-A and officially use LBM No. 74 in the computation of next year’s IRA.

The request was formalized in a unanimous resolution of the LPP, which national secretary-general is Chatto, as the league also considered the president’s “heart for the LGUs.”

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Having come from the ranks of the local chief executives as a former long-time mayor of Davao City, the president knows the concerns in running the LGU, Chatto said.

Also during its assembly, the LPP tackled with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) the details of the implementation of the conditional grant for local roads in provinces in 2017 at a total national budget of P18 billion.

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Chatto said they requested to include the bridges in the said local road rehabilitation, repair and improvement grant scheme, formerly known as the KALSADA program.

2017 IRA HIGHER,

BUT SHARES FALL

According to the DBM, the IRA shares of the 43,593 LGUs in the country in 2017 all amount to P486.885 billion, which is P58.266 billion or 13.59% higher than the total IRA in 2016.

The yearly IRA shares are based on the certification of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on the computation of the share of LGUs from the actual collection of national internal revenue taxes.

But despite the increase in the total IRA, a greater number of LGUs face the risk of receiving shares smaller than their allocations at the present fiscal year.

Comprising the country’s LGUs are 82 provinces, 145 cities, 1,477 municipalities and 41,889 barangays in 16 regions, including the National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Computing next year’s IRA based on LBM No. 74-A, the Region 7 provinces, including Bohol, will have a total allocation of P6.888 billion but, using LBM No. 74, the sum is higher at P6.917 billion.

The IRA reduction resulting from LBM No. 74-A computation affects Bohol’s (provincial government) share by a decrease of more than P41 million.

There are separate totals for the IRAs of the Central Visayas cities, municipalities and barangays.

By new budget memorandum computation, 32 municipal LGUs in Bohol will likewise get reduced allocations while only 10 or 11 receive increases.

The LGU has to appropriate in its annual budget at least 20% of its IRA for development projects, aside from the equivalent cost of the devolved functions to be also taken from IRA.

Bohol province operates and manages 10 devolved hospitals on top of the functions devolved by the environment and natural resources, agriculture and other national agencies.

Chatto said the province’s hospital modernization program is likewise a continuing priority of his administration.

ADDITIONAL
GUIDELINES

Amid the anxiety of many LGUs nationwide because of the imminent IRA reduction, the DBM has additional guidelines in the preparation of the 2017 annual local budgets.

The LGUs have been enjoined to comply with the pertinent provisions of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, including its implementing rules and regulations.

Section 51 of the law states, “The LGUs shall appropriate a substantial portion of their annual budgets to assist in or enhance the enforcement of the Act, giving priority to preventive or educational programs and the rehabilitation or treatment of drug dependents.

Specifically, LGUs are encouraged to “provide funds in their annual budgets for the conduct of barangay clearing operations.”

The rehabilitation and aftercare of drug users in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are included, as well as the establishment of special drug education centers.

The governors’ league earlier commended Duterte’s war on drugs. In Bohol, the relentless anti-drug campaign has been sustained with a broader community participation in line with the national priority.

In view of the current reality in the country, Bohol envisions to become  an illegal drug-resistant province, transforming drug users into anti-drug advocates. (Ven rebo Arigo) 

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