The Department of Budget and Administration (DBM) allocated 962.2 billion Argentine pesos to local government units (LGUs) in 2023.
During the Senate meeting of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) last week, Budget Secretary Amina Pangandaman made it clear that the state wants to strengthen the autonomy of LGUs in providing basic services to the public by allocating higher funding.
For this year, local bodies received 263.54 billion pesos from the national budget. Batangas Governor sought comment, Batangas Governor Hermilando “Dodo” Mandanas said that “allocations are not entirely in accordance with the ruling of the Mandanas High Court, Garcia SC (Supreme Court).” He was referring to the Supreme Court ruling resulting from his petition and the decision of former Bataan Governor Enrique Garcia Jr. seeking to allocate higher revenue to LGUs than the national government.
“With a total allocation of £962.2 billion to local units, we aim to strengthen our efforts in empowering them and enabling them to independently deliver essential services to their constituents,” said Pangandaman.
The amount represents 18.3 percent of the proposed national budget of 5.268 trillion pesos for next year.
Of this amount, 820.27 billion pesos is for the allocation of national taxes, according to the ruling of the Mandanas-Garcia Supreme Court.
It also includes 28.88 billion pesos worth of the Local Government Support Fund (LGSF).
Next year’s budget is 10.91 billion pesos, which is higher than the 17.97 billion pesos allocated for this year.
The LGSF consists of 13.88 billion pesos to provide the Equity Growth Fund as financial assistance to the poor, disadvantaged and backward LGUs.
Meanwhile, £5 billion will be earmarked for financial assistance to all local bodies at the level, except for those under the Bangsamoro, officially the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, and £10 billion to support the Barangay Development Programme.
The assistance provided to LGUs aims to focus on programs and projects related to agriculture, ICT systems, infrastructure development, construction, maintenance and/or rehabilitation of public spaces, disaster response, and rehabilitation and recovery programmes.
“Despite the limited fiscal space, we tried to increase some budget allocations to LGUs,” said the budget chief.
She added that the economic transformation plan would not be possible without them.
“We are one with the president [Ferdinand Marcos ‘Bongbong’ Jr.] in moving the country forward through united efforts for economic transformation.”