Thursday, August 16, 2007

More responsibilities but lesser resources for LGUs

In its recent decision, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled that the local government units have the primary responsibility over flood control and management in their respective jurisdiction, including areas in private subdivisions.

The decision stemmed from the case filed by a group of homeowners whose subdivision became a catch basin of the water from the Naga River in Paranaque. Now, they are asking the subdivision developer, Filinvest, to address the problem or "upgrade the elevation of the affected areas and repair the units, or transfer them to flood-free housing projects and “sell-back” their affected units."

But while it is true that based on the Local Government Code the LGUs have the responsibility to address such flood-related problems, it is a very big lie to say that they have the capability to do so. Bakit kamo? Kasi hanggang ngayon, di pa rin settled ng isyu sa internal revenue allotments (IRA) ng mga LGUs. Karamihan sa mga LGUs, baon sa utang dahil hindi pa released ang mga IRA nila.

Second, karamihan din sa mga LGUs, ang liit-liit ng IRA dahil sa in-equitable distribution nito. May mga munisipyo na nabubuhay sa 7 million pesos lang na annual budget as opposed sa kung ilang milyong pork barrel ng mga congressman natin as well as sa bilyones na pork barrel ni GMA. How is that, then?

Buti ang Quezon City at Makati City dahil malaki ang tax base. Kahit di n sila umasa sa IRA, puwede silang mabuhay. Ang problema nga lang, mas malaki ang IRA ng QC at Makati (na malaki ang local income) as compared sa halos walang local income na mga munisipyo at mga probinsiya. And now, the Local Government Code is expecting much from these low-or-almost-no-income LGUs?

Baka puwedeng pag-isipan din, Senator Pimentel, lalo na ang IRA-sharing. This will also answer your proposal to delimit the conversion of municipalities into cities. Karamihan kasi gustong maging cities para lumaki ang share ng IRA.

At baka puwedeng pag-isipan din, Gng. Gloria. If you are aware, lubog sa utang ang karamihang LGUs natin dahil sa kakulangan sa resources. And soon, with this decision from the Supreme Court, dadami din sigurado ang lulubog sa baha at iba pang kalamidad.

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