Hon. Juan Carlo S. Medina, RDC-1 Chairperson and Vigan City Mayor (left topmost picture), as he presided the 4th Quarter Virtual Meeting of the RDC-1 on November 25, 2020)

To aid the local government units (LGUs) in fulfilling their functions, and to augment their funds in response to the ongoing pandemic were among the selling points for the Regional Development Council 1 (RDC-1) to back up the immediate implementation of the Mandanas ruling. The RDC-1 passed Resolution No. 95, s. 2020 during its 4th Quarter Virtual Meeting on November 25, 2020 affirming its stand on the matter.

Gov. Hermilando Mandanas of the Province of Batangas, as he presented the Mandanas Ruling before the members of the RDC-1 Executive Committee during its virtual meeting last November 5, 2020.

The Supreme Court (SC) decision on the Mandanas case specifies that the just share of LGUs, also known as Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), must be computed based on all national taxes, and not just from National Internal Revenue Taxes (NIRT). This includes other taxes such as those collected by the Bureau of Customs and agencies that are authorized by law to collect NIRT.

Gov. Hermilando Mandanas of the Province of Batangas and the lead petitioner in the SC case briefed the members of the RDC during the RDC-1 Executive Committee meeting on November 5, 2020.  He articulated his request for RDC-1 to issue support on the matter in the spirit of local autonomy, following the urgency for pandemic response.

The RDC-1 also recognizes the need to lay down the measures for smoother transition and improve the absorptive capacity of the LGUs given their additional funding and responsibilities brought by the SC decision. The Council supports the issuance of an Executive Order (EO) by the President to finally operationalize the SC decision. This will direct the preparation of transition plans of concerned national agencies and identification of programs and projects to be devolved to LGUs.

The RDC-1 also encouraged the LGUs to prepare and submit their respective transition plans to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) upon finalization of the transition plans of the concerned national agencies. The Council also requested the DILG to lead the formulation and implementation of a Capacity Building Program for LGUs to help reinforce their fiscal and technical capabilities and capacities to deliver their devolved duties.

Upon the issuance of the EO, the RDC is expected to facilitate the coordination of national government programs to the local governments, as well as the programs of the local governments that would need the assistance or approval of the national government. #John Gagucas