DILG: With the issuing of EO 138, full devolution will take place.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced on Saturday that the full devolution of basic services and facilities from the national government to local government units (LGUs) will begin next year, including an increased share of LGUs in all national taxes and revenues, following President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s signing of Executive Order (EO) No. 138.
“With EO 138, the long-awaited ambition of LGUs to fully execute the 1991 Local Government Code’s required devolution of authorities and resources would be realized during this administration. Many positive things are coming to LGUs and the people in general beginning next year under complete devolution,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a press release.
According to him, the EO would guarantee that the decentralization strategy contained in the Constitution and the Local Government Code, as well as the rise in LGUs’ rightful share of national revenues as allowed for in the Supreme Court’s Mandanas-Garcia verdict, be implemented consistently and seamlessly.
“We applaud President Duterte for issuing this EO, which demonstrates his commitment to local autonomy and complete devolution. This will get the ball moving and guarantee that local governments are prepared for increased duties and financial resources. Because of complete devolution, ‘Aangat ang Lakas ng Lokal’ sa tulong ng ‘Dagdag na Pondo’ na magdudulot ng ‘Angat Serbisyo’ para sa mga mamamayan (LGUs would be empowered with more finances, resulting in better service to the people) “he said
The Supreme Court ruled in Mandanas et al. v. Executive Secretary et al. that all national tax collections, with the exception of those going to special-purpose funds and special allotments for the utilization and development of national wealth, should be included in the computation of the LGUs’ just share.
The devolution of essential services to LGUs was legislated by the Local Government Code in 1991. This was based on the idea that local governments are better positioned to meet the demands of their citizens and, as a result, can provide better services. Full devolution, on the other hand, was never realized since the monies required to accomplish it were never completely downloaded to LGUs.
E0 138, according to the DILG chairman, is a step toward establishing a more responsive and responsible local government structure via a decentralization system in which local government units are given additional rights, authority, duties, and financial resources.
“Capacity-rich provinces, cities, and 1st to 3rd-class municipalities will have greater authority in managing their resources. The DILG will next concentrate on and support 4th to 6th class municipalities so that they are better able to handle the extra tasks and services that have been delegated to them,” he added.
According to Ao, a Committee on Devolution (ComDev) will be established to oversee and monitor the EO’s administrative and fiscal decentralization goals, as well as to resolve issues and concerns that may arise during implementation, ensure the removal of any regulatory or fiscal controls on the automatic release of LGU shares, and adopt mechanisms to ensure continuous delivery.
Together with the Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management, the DILG secretary will serve as co-chairperson of the ComDev (DBM). The Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning, the Secretary of Finance, the Executive Secretary, and the Presidents of the Leagues of Provinces, Cities, and Municipalities of the Philippines, the Liga ng mga Barangay ng Pilipinas, and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines are among the members of the committee.
A Growth Equity Fund (GEF) will also be submitted to Congress under the EO, which would cover the financing needs of projects of poor, disadvantaged, and lagging LGUs in order for them to fulfill the tasks and services that have been delegated to them.
Cap Development for Local Government Units
Ao asked province governors, city and municipal mayors, and punong barangays to develop their Capacity Development Agenda (Caop Dev) and Devolution Transition Plans in advance of these significant changes in government (DTPs).
According to Ao, the Department’s Local Government Academy (LGA) would supervise the implementation of capacity-building initiatives for local governments and create suitable procedures to guarantee effective use of government resources.
He also said that the LGA would coordinate all capacity building initiatives for LGUs by the DBM, NEDA, DOF, other agencies, the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), and third-party service providers. The LGA will use the potential of the Local Governance National and Regional Resource Centers as a capacity-building convergence platform.
The DILG, DBM, and Bureau of Local Government Finance of the DOF, on the other hand, shall include public financial management processes in the capacity development of the LGUs, such as local planning, investment programming, resource mobilization, and budgeting, to ensure that the revenue allotment for basic services and facilities is in accordance with the Local Government Code.