President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) transferring some executive functions to local government units (LGUs) before the end of 2024.
EO 138, signed by Duterte on June 1, transfers basic services and facilities to the LGUs so that “national government agencies can assume more strategic and steering functions to address persistent development issues.”
Under the EO, Duterte stated the national government’s commitment to the “policy of decentralization” aimed at developing capabilities of LGUs to deliver basic social services and critical facilities to their constituents, increase productivity and employment, and promote local economic growth; and ensuring accountability, competence, professionalism, and transparency of local leaders through the development of institutional systems that uphold good governance and strengthen their capacities for managing public resources.
“The functions, services, and facilities which shall be fully devolved from the [national government] to the LGUs no later than the end of FY 2024, shall include those indicated under Section 17 of RA No. 7160 and other existing laws which subsequently devolved functions of the NG to LGUs,” the EO read.
The basic services and facilities fully devolved shall be funded from the share of the LGUs in the proceeds of national taxes and other local revenue.
EO 138 noted that total shares of the LGUs from the national taxes is expected to significantly increase starting 2022.
To carry out the plan, the national government agencies (NGAs) concerned and all LGUs shall prepare their respective devolution transition plans (DTPs) which conform to the guidelines to be jointly issued by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
EO 138 also creates a Committee on Devolution (ComDev) chaired by the DBM Secretary and co-chaired by the DILG Secretary.
Its members include the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, DOF Secretary, Executive Secretary, and 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.
Functions of the ComDev include overseeing and monitoring the implementation of administrative and fiscal decentralization goals of this order; evaluating the status and monitor the implementation of the DTPs of NGAs and LGUs, and ensuring compliance of NG officials or employees and local chief executives or personnel, and initiate appropriate action(s) as may be warranted.
The ComDev is tasked to resolve issues and concerns that may arise in the implementation of this Order, without prejudice to the respective mandates of its member-agencies in individually resolving the same; ensure the elimination of any regulatory or fiscal controls on the automatic release of LGU shares on national taxes; and adopt mechanisms to ensure continuous delivery of public services by the NGAs and the LGUs during the transition period to full devolution;
The ComDev must also develop a strong communications plan and pursue strategies to effectively inform the public, as well as other stakeholders, on the delineation of the functions between the NGAs and the LGUs, and their respective accountabilities.
For this purpose, the ComDev may tap the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and its attached agencies and offices, call upon all NGAs, both the oversight and the affected agencies, to designate focal officials and personnel who shall participate in this information drive, and ensure the integration of the ComDev’s key messaging and communications plan to their respective agencies’ communication efforts;
The ComDev is also tasked to propose a Growth Equity Fund (GEF) to Congress to address issues on marginalization, unequal development, high poverty incidence, and disparities in the net fiscal capacities of LGUs.
The amount constituting the GEF shall be included by the DBM in the National Expenditure Program starting FY 2022 and thereafter, to cover the funding requirements of programs, projects and activities of poor, disadvantaged and lagging LGUs to gradually enable the full and efficient implementation of the functions and services devolved to them.
The GEF shall be released to the LGUs in accordance with the implementing rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Development Budget Coordination Committee. (Azer Parrocha/PNA)