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Increase LGUs’ share

/ 08:35 AM December 29, 2013

Sen. Koko Pimentel proposed a good idea to increase the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) share of local government units from the present 40 percent to 50 percent. The proposal is timely after the Supreme Court declared the pork barrel system unconstitutional. The government has been in a quandary how to rechannel funds for more government projects to maximize what used to be the pork barrel.

Pimentel’s proposal is the answer. All LGUs are front-liners in addressing concerns of the people. I humbly submit that instead of 50 percent why can’t Pimentel seriously consider increasing the allocation to 60 percent so LGUs have more than enough funds to do their job.

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Admittedly, LGUs badly need more funds to mount projects that benefit the people. I think the national government should be ready and willing to share more with LGUs who face the demand for more services.

I am also happy that President Aquino, contrary to the observation of some critics, has remained honest and determined to cleanse the government of graft and corruption.

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However, there are underlings who seem unable to survive without stealing money from government coffers. Enough is enough.

We have learned our bitter lesson and wasted billions of pesos to grafters exemplified by the Janet Napoles scam. Members of Congress are not the best officials to entrust our money. Time and again they have proven to be undeserving of our trust. Put the money where it is needed most.

I am pretty sure my former principal, senator Alberto G. Romulo will be happy with this proposal which is in line with his advocacy to provide more funds to LGUs. He was responsible for the hefty increase of the IRA share from 35 percent proposed by the lower house that was increased to 40 percent. I recall sending the proposal to the Senate leadership at that time.

So good luck to the Pimentel’s proposal and let us hope that the leadership in Congress seriously takes it up and not toss it out the window because they would still like to control the bulk of tax spending for their own interests.

* * *

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama is in a great quandary over whether to revoke the license to operate of Las Vegas KTV bar or reconsider the closure he ordered for purposes of tax revenue.

The crackdown on the bar was prompted by the lewd shows being offered to customers. The bar had been warned of a previous infraction. Now, the bar’s lawyer is complaining of the lack of due process even though they knew they had violated the anti-indecency ordinance and were already given a chance to change. So this time, the bar was shut down for not complying with the law.

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Will Mayor Mike stick with his decision and uphold the standard of decency or reconsider the closure in order to collect taxes for the city?

I would stand by the decision of the Cebu Anti-Indecency Board because the bar was caught red-handed.

The final decision is better left to the wisdom of the mayor but I can always see a win-win solution to the situation. The mayor may reconsider the closure but issue a final warning that if the KTV bar violates the ordinance again, it would be closed permanently. At the same time, City Hall would have it strictly monitored for any violation and the mayor can still collect taxes from the enterprise.

I do understand the predicament of the mayor who needs the help of everyone because this concerns not just him, but the city.

That is why I can’t understand why some sectors are hesitant sell portions of the South Road Properties (SRP) when it is marketable and attractive for investments.

I hope that Cebu City’s residents work together to help the city generate the necessary funds instead of obstructing the mayor’s plans for development. The buck stops with the mayor and not the City Council.

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