DILG wants Charter amendments to address gap between rich and poor regions
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is pushing for amendments in the 1987 Constitution to help address “society’s ills” including corruption, unemployment, and income inequality in the regions.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the department submitted last week to the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments a set of proposed amendments to the Constitution to include “equality provisions” which are poised to address the gap between rich and poor regions in the country.
He said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Federalism (IATF) and Constitutional Reform chaired by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has approved for the meantime these provisions for submission to the House of Representatives and the Senate in its 3rd Regular Plenary Meeting.
“The draft federal constitution is still under deliberation by the IATF so while there is yet no consensus on the federal constitution, the IATF is proposing these amendments to Congress as requested by Chairman Rufus Rodriguez,” Malaya said in a statement on Tuesday.
He explained that the DILG is still pushing for federalism but added it needs to find a common ground first with other member-agencies before the task force can submit its recommendations to President Rodrigo Duterte and to Congress.
According to Malaya, the DILG will launch this October a new national advocacy campaign for equality provision amendments under it’s Constitutional Reform (CORE) program.
He said among the CORE amendments that the IATF proposes is to insert in the Charter the Mandanas decision of the Supreme Court where it ruled that the source of internal revenue allotment of local government units (LGUs) should be all national taxes not only those collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
He explained this will increase the funds to be given to all regions of the country.
The SC ruled that aside from internal revenue taxes, the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of LGUs should include tariff and duties collected by the Bureau of Customs, 50 percent of value-added tax, 30 percent of national taxes collected in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, 60 percent of national taxes collected from the exploitation and development of national wealth, 85 percent of excise tax from tobacco products and a portion of franchise tax under Republic Acts 6631 and 6632 (Horse Racing Laws), among others, according to the DILG.
“In addition to ensuring that the larger IRA should be cast in stone in the Constitution, the IATF is also proposing a new formula in the distribution of the IRA to LGUs. This new formula includes the needs of the LGU, level of own-revenue collection, and organizational capacity of the LGU,” said Malaya.
The IATF is also proposing to transform the Regional Development Council, a purely recommendatory body, to become the Regional Development Authority (RDA), which will have powers and funds to implement projects in the regional level.
“Once the RDA is established, the said body may implement programs and projects in the regional level without the need of approval from Manila,” he explained. /muf
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