President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. announced that the national government is studying the implementation of Executive Order No. 138 which seeks to fully devolve certain executive branch functions to local government units (LGUs).

“Gagamitin ngayon namin itong one year na ito para pag-aralan nang mabuti ‘yung (EO) 138. Tingnan natin na siguro may mga function kasi na binibigay sa local, hindi naman dapat sa local talaga,” the President said.

The President, in a speech delivered at the Manila Hotel during the general assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), emphasized the importance of examining the various functions of government and local government, as well as coordinating efforts at the local and national levels.

He also mentioned the lower tax allotment this year and consideration of the LGUs’ existing technical capabilities when implementing the Mandanas ruling.

“We are taking very seriously the issues that have come out from the Mandanas ruling and how we will implement it because hopefully by next year, by ’24 mag-i-improve na ang ating koleksiyon kasi sa 2021, medyo maganda-ganda, medyo umaahon na ‘yung ekonomiya, baka mayroon naman talaga tayong makuha,” the President explained.

The Supreme Court decision in the Mandanas-Garcia case, which directs the full devolution of certain executive branch functions to LGUs, was issued to strengthen LGU autonomy and empowerment.

The President described the Mandanas ruling’s implementation as one of the most significant issues confronting the government and assured local governments that his administration would listen to their concerns and provide necessary assistance.

“Ang nangyari dito is nagkaroon tayo ng executive order, ‘yung EO 138 defines the different functions of government and local government. Dahil ang nasa likod niyan ay ang sinasabi lalaki ang pondo ng municipal government, ng provincial government, ng city government dahil nga nabago ‘yung interpretasyon doon sa sharing,” the chief executive pointed out.

The anticipated increase in LGUs’ just shares of national taxes, as ruled by the Supreme Court in 2018, will allow them to assume responsibility for the delivery of devolved services as prescribed by Section 17 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and other relevant laws.

However, there are concerns about LGUs’ technical capabilities to carry out these functions efficiently, especially given this year’s reduced tax allotment. As a result, the national government is studying EO No. 138 and coordinating efforts with local governments to ensure a smooth and effective implementation.

Aside from devolution, other issues in local government operations must be addressed. The President emphasized the importance of allowing local leaders to demonstrate what they believe is most important and to carry out their initiatives and programs. This is significant because economic growth and transformation will always begin at the grassroots level.

Since its inception in 1991, the LMP has promoted local autonomy and cooperation by assisting the national government in developing and implementing programs for municipalities and encouraging citizen participation in local government administration. (AP- PIA CPSD)