Empowered, enriched LGUs

The committee monitors the full devolution of certain functions of the national government to local government units.

In the Mandanas-Garcia ruling and the specific law on devolution, the people are the recipients so they must be fully informed of the changes that are happening.

Some local governments are still unaware that there are a lot of programs including basic services currently administered by the national government agencies that are now supposed to be under the management of local government units based on the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991.

Earlier this year, the government initiated the implementation of the Mandanas-Garcia Ruling of the Supreme Court with the Department of Budget and Management as the head of the Committee on Devolution.

The committee monitors the full devolution of certain functions of the national government to local government units.

The provisions of the local government code and Section 6 of Article X of the 1987 Constitution which states that “LGUs shall have a just share as determined by law, in the national taxes which shall be automatically released to them” govern the decentralization of functions and the boon of local internal revenue allotments to the side and coffers of the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays.

The transfer from the national government to the local government units of powers, authority, responsibilities, and resources enhanced local development and progress.

Decentralization resulted in the transfer of resources to the local government derived from a collection of fees and duties and income from the operation of economic enterprises.

It enhanced governmental and corporate powers:

1. Full autonomy in the exercise of proprietary rights and management of economic enterprises;

2. Authority to secure domestic and foreign grants without the need for national government approval;

3. Cooperative undertaking among LGUs

4. Exemption from payment of customs duties for imported heavy equipment; and

5. Authority to extend loans to other LGUs and to aid calamity-stricken LGUs.

Decentralization transferred the following regulatory functions:

1. Reclassification of agricultural lands from the DAR to the local government;

2.Enforcement of environmental laws from the DENR to the local government;

3. Inspection of food products from the DA to the local government;

4. Quarantine from DoH to the local government;

5. Enforcement of national building code from DPWH to the local government; and

6. Operation of tricycles from DoTr to the local government.

Decentralization transferred responsibility for the provision of the following basic services and facilities:

1. Agricultural extension and on-site research from the Department of Agriculture to local government;

2. Community-based forestry projects from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources;

3. Field health and hospital services and other tertiary health services from the Department of Health;

4. Public works and infrastructure projects funded out of local funds from the Department of Public Highways;

5. School building program from the DepEd;

6. Social welfare services from the Department of Social Welfare;

7. Tourism facilities and tourism promotion and development from the Department of Tourism;

8. Telecommunication services from the Department of Transportation to provinces and cities; and

9. Housing projects.

Devolution does not mean that all programs of the national government agencies will be transferred to the local government units. The mandate of the national government agencies is still there but they assume a steering function to provide technical assistance to LGUs.

Local government executives should by now be guided by the recent pronouncement of DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman that she is committed to the digitalization of the bureaucracy under her whole-of-government approach, which means including local government units.

She underscored her push for the digital transformation of the bureaucracy through the “Budget Treasury Management System to ease the doing of business, limit human discretion and intervention and fully enhance transparency in government transactions.”

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