P200-billion IRA not enough, local governments claim
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the dramatic increase in the internal revenue allotments (IRA) of local governments next year, officials claimed on Friday that the funds would not be enough for an equally dramatic improvement in local government services.
Quirino Gov. Dakila Cua, president of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, admitted that local governments would receive more than P200 billion in additional funds next year.
But “that P200 billion will not be that significant to really have a dramatic effect and change in the service delivery,” because it would have to be divided among 81 provinces, 146 cities, 1,488 municipalities and 42,000 barangays, Cua said.
“In short, we will still need the support, aid, and assistance of the national government for the effective delivery of services of our devolved functions,” he said as the national government prepared to increase local governments’ IRA.
The increase in IRA was mandated by the Supreme Court, which ruled in 2018 that the national government erred in previously limiting the IRA to some while excluding others.
Beginning next year, the IRA—computed based on a local government’s land area and population—will be increased, as mandated by the high court, and released automatically every quarter as provided in the Local Government Code, or Republic Act No. 7160.
Speaking in the same interview, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said the increased IRA would definitely step up the services they provide, but that depends on the functions that would be devolved to local governments.
“If too many functions will be devolved to us — which, in this particular situation, we don’t know which will still be devolved to us — the amount may not be enough,” said Belmonte, who leads one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the country.
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