ComDev, gov’t braces for transfer of functions to LGUs in Cordi

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BAGUIO CITY – With only a few months until the implementation of Executive Order No. 138 series of 2021, mandating the full devolution of certain functions of the executive branch to local government units (LGUs), the Committee on Devolution (ComDev) here is working closely with LGUs in drafting their Devolution Transition Plans (DTPs).

Araceli San Jose, OIC -Regional Director of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cordillera said the full devolution of basic services and facilities from the national government to LGUs will finally begin next year, including the increased share of LGUs in all national taxes and revenues.

“The Executive EO 138 will ensure that the decentralization policy enshrined in the Constitution and the Local Government Code, as well as the increase in just share in national taxes for LGUs as provided for in the Constitution and as a result of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia petitions are carried out systematically and smoothly,” she explained during the regional orientation today.

“E0 138 is a step toward the provision of a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a decentralization system in which local government units shall be given more powers, authority, responsibilities, and the corresponding financial resources,” she added.

OIC-RD San Jose said that the devolution of basic services to LGUs was mandated by the Local Government Code in 1991 and was based on the premise that LGUs are better positioned to address the needs of their constituents and, as a result, provide better services. Full devolution, however, was never realized because the funds required to implement full devolution were never fully downloaded to LGUs.

The DILG-CAR conducted a two-day regional orientation on the preparation of LGU DTPs with the goal of capacitating participants on the prescribed components, processes, and mechanisms in the preparation of their DTPs.

The SC Ruling on the Mandanas-Garcia Petitions, and the provisions of EO 138 and  Local Budget Memorandum 82 were among the topics discussed by the Department of Budget and Management.  While Communications Plan and Strategy on the Implementation of Supreme Court’s Mandanas-Garcia Ruling, Capacity Development Agenda Process, Guidelines on the Preparation of DTPs, State of Devolved Functions Services and Facilities, Phasing of Full Assumption, Capacity Development Agenda for DTPs, Organizational Structure, and Staffing Pattern, Performance Target for Devolved Functions and Services were discussed by DILG-CAR.

The Bureau of Local Government Fund (BLGF) presented the Local Revenue Forecast and Resource Mobilization during the orientation while the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) discussed the alignment of National-Regional-Local Plans and Investment Programs within the context of EO No. 138.

In Cordillera, the following government agencies presented their DTPS: the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, the DTPs of the National Government Agencies (NGAs) shall identify and clarify the functions and services devolved to LGUs, by level of LGU, in accordance with Republic Act (RA) No. 7160 or the Local Government Code and other relevant laws, as well as the strategies for and phasing of devolution to LGUs.

They must also include the definition of standards for the delivery of devolved services, a strategy for LGU capacity development, a framework for monitoring and assessing LGU performance, and an organizational effectiveness proposal to strengthen the department/agency in assuming “steering functions” as part of the devolution efforts. By Pamela Mariz T. Geminiano

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