DAVAO CITY – The efforts to amend the country’s Local Government Code to increase the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of cities and municipalities may not affect their actual share but changing the political system to Federalism will.

City Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang of Davao City’s Second District said that as long as the formula of the revenue sharing will not change, the actual share “may remain the same.”

Dayanghirang said that all revenues are “centralized to the national government under the current system” and then divided with the number of cities and municipalities.

“11 cities were newly created and almost all of the cities and municipalities, according to the DBM (Department of Budget and Management), has increased IRAs by 10-14%,” he said.

Dayanghirang  said for Davao City, he expects a P300 million increase in the IRA and P400 million in the local collection or an increase of P700 million in the local budget.

Davao City will have a budget of P5.8 Billion pesos for 2015.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) recently held a Mindanao-wide consultation on Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, which included proposed revisions of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

There are currently two proposed legislative measures in Congress on the revisions of the IRA.

Senate Bill 2045 crafted by Senator Koko Pimentel seeks to redefine the IRA to “national taxes” which will include “revenue taxes collected by BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) and “tariffs, duties, fees and charges as well as the national internal revenue taxes, if any, collected by the Bureau of Customs” and “shall include the value added tax.”

Pimentel’s proposed bill also wants to increase to 50% the share of local government units from the “national taxes.”

House Bill 824, filed by Marikina Representative Marcelino Teodoro, has similar content with that of Pimentel’s.

But for Dayanghirang, “(Davao City) Mayor (Rodrigo) Duterte is correct in saying that our problem is systemic. In the federal system, our revenue is automatically our budget and there are just provisions for the national (government).”

“It is consistent with the pursuit of local economy so that people’s participation will not be hampered,” he said.

Dayanghirang also said that in the current system, “they (national government) incur debt from international lending institutions like the IMF (international monetary fund) and do projects which have failed like MRT (Metro Railway Transit) but all of us will pay for it.”

Dayangharing said the idea of federalism espoused by Duterte “is to revert control and autonomy to the local government.”

“There is just one governor who reports directly to the President. It’s not difficult to manage.”

In news reports, Duterte was in Cebu City to speak before a group pushing for a shift to a federal form of government.

Duterte said he will “abolish” Congress and declare a “revolutionary” government if he fails to achieve change within six months of his presidency, should he become President. (John Rizle Saligumba/davaotoday.com)

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