By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA – The House committee on constitutional amendments is considering the inclusion of a provision on larger internal revenue allotments (IRA) for provinces, cities, towns, and barangays throughout the country in its charter change (Cha-cha) recommendations.
In a statement released on Friday, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, committee chair, said several members are backing the proposal of the administration’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Constitutional Reform for a larger IRA for LGUs.
“LGUs are entitled to it. That is what the Supreme Court has declared in the Mandanas case,” he said, referring to a petition filed by Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas wherein the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that higher IRA for LGUs must be implemented.
Rodriguez said his panel will meet next week to determine which proposals of the task force would be included in its Cha-cha report.
Based on a study done by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Rodriguez said LGUs would have a total of PHP1.116 trillion in IRA in 2022 with the SC ruling, or PHP313 billion more than if their allocations were computed without the high court’s decision.
For this year, PHP649 billion is appropriated in the national budget as the LGUs’ IRA, which represents the share of local governments from national taxes, he said.
At present, IRA, which represents the LGUs’ share of national taxes, is computed based on “internal revenue taxes,” or those collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. However, this does not include collections by the Bureau of Customs.
The SC ruling expanded the scope to include not only taxes collected by the BIR but Customs as well, and other impositions, including half of value-added tax (VAT) from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, 60 percent of levies from the exploitation of natural wealth, and half of VAT on the sale of goods and properties.
Citing the DILG study, Rodriguez said the expanded IRA ruling would give provinces an additional PHP268 billion, while cities, towns, and barangays would gain PHP268 billion, PHP397 billion, and PHP233 billion, respectively.
Among the other Cha-cha proposals of the DILG-led task force are provisions against political dynasties and turncoats, the election of senators by region, a five-year term for members of the House of Representatives and local officials, lifting of limitations on foreign investments, and state subsidy for political parties.
Rodriguez said most of the administration group’s proposed constitutional amendments are similar to those contained in its committee’s initial report. (PNA)