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League wants IRA for new cities stopped

KIDAPAWAN CITY: The city government here is bent on imposing austerity measures to ensure the smooth delivery of basic services to city residents despite a cut in its internal revenue allotment (IRA) this year, reported the Philippine News Agency.

The cut, estimated at P37 million, was brought about by the conversion last year of some 17 municipalities to component cities across the country.

This as City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco has joined and supported the campaign of the League of Cities in the Philippines (LCP) to address the IRA cut.

The LCP has filed before the Supreme Court a motion for injunction to stop the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) from releasing additional IRA to the newly created cities.

Since last year, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has given the LCP and its 120-member cities a notice of the IRA cut.

The national government has allotted P210 billion for the cities’ IRA this year.

As a result of the conversion, this city, for instance, would only receive an IRA of P5 million or a cut of some P36.5 million from its IRA of P42 million this year.

To make up for its losses, the city government has implemented this year, despite strong opposition from the local business sector, the Revenue Code that has been passed but shelved years ago.

The city government is expected to earn about P10 to P20 million from the increase in local revenues.

Gantuangco defended the implementation of the new revenue code since the IRA cut hampered the city’s implementation of infrastructure projects and delivery of basic social services.

As earlier reported, LCP officials will meet in Malacañang to discuss with the President the cut in their IRA share with the entry of 15 new cities this year.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, chairman of the LCP together with Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos, the group president, will bring before the President their position not to release the IRA share of the new cities.

Treñas said the city that suffers the highest cut is Puerto Princesa in Palawan with more than P100 million followed by Davao and Zamboanga cities with more or less P70 million each.

Iloilo City expects a P36-million slash from the supposed P39-million increase from its IRA share this year.

Treñas added that up to now, their petition seeking for a temporary restraining order for the conversion of the 14 municipalities to cities is still pending at the Supreme Court.

He added that the LCP does not oppose the conversion of San Juan because it is very much qualified but the other municipalities are not.

The new cities besides San Juan in Metro Manila are Baybay, Leyte; Tayabas, Quezon; Borongan, Eastern Samar; Bayugan and Cabad­baran, Agusan del Norte; Bogo and Carcar, Cebu; Catbalogan, Samar; Tandag, Surigao del Sur; Lamitan, Basilan; El Salvador, Misamis Oriental; Mati, Davao Oriental; Batac, Ilocos Norte; and Tabuk, Kalinga.

-Manila Times


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