PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has tasked the Commission on Devolution with studying a delayed timeline for transferring National Government (NG) functions to local government units (LGUs), citing concerns about the LGUs’ ability to carry out these functions.
Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman made the announcement after a meeting with Mr. Marcos and members of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, which had been lobbying for a longer devolution timeline.
“We were tasked again by the President to sit and study the projects and programs that should be left to the National Government…and the projects that should be devolved to LGUs,” Ms. Pangandaman said at a Palace briefing.
She said the study, which will be led by NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, will be the basis for any amendments to Executive Order (EO) No. 138, which gave LGUs a three-year transition period until 2024 to fully assume some NG functions.
In a separate statement, the Palace said the main concern was LGUs’ “absorptive capacity” for taking on major projects.
The order to devolve, which was issued by former President Rodrigo R. Duterte, was the government’s response to a Supreme Court ruling granting LGUs a larger share of the national taxes.
EO No. 138 also created a committee on devolution, to be chaired by the Budget Secretary and co-chaired by the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government.
The committee members include the secretaries of NEDA and Finance, 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. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza